Technology is an ever-growing influence in our everyday lives. It is a source of economic growth and employment, but it has also introduced new avenues for crime and financial fraud.
Having a clear understanding of technology is important for the people who design and use it, and for those who merely watch. Luckily, there are many useful resources available. This article provides a brief overview of some of them.
While a great deal of attention has been paid to the practical aspects of technology, a lesser amount has focused on its philosophical aspects. As a result, many supposedly systematic mechanisms for assessing the impacts of new technologies are nebulous, or at least not particularly well-defined.
One of the early contributions to philosophy of technology was the doctrine of the four causes. Aristotle wrote about the doctrine in Physics II.2, but his explanations referred to technical artifacts.
The first half of the industrial revolution was marked by a positive attitude towards technology. However, the second half brought a new set of problems. For example, if machines are to be a force for good, governments need to create incentives for their use.
Several multilateral organizations have emerged to facilitate the process of developing norms for new technologies. These groups include the International Organization for Standardization and a number of nongovernmental organizations.
Many of these organizations share a common interest in ensuring that new technologies are not disruptive to society. However, the challenge is finding ways to coordinate the operation of these technologies across nations.