Secrecy News

Book Review: The Ethics of Technological Innovation

My review of the new book The Ethics of Invention: Technology and the Human Future by Sheila Jasanoff appeared in this week’s Nature magazine. It begins:

“Technological innovation in fields from genetic engineering to cyberwarfare is accelerating at a breakneck pace, but ethical deliberation over its implications has lagged behind. Thus argues Sheila Jasanoff — who works at the nexus of science, law and policy — in The Ethics of Invention, her fresh investigation. Not only are our deliberative institutions inadequate to the task of oversight, she contends, but we fail to recognize the full ethical dimensions of technology policy. She prescribes a fundamental reboot.”

“Ethics in innovation has been given short shrift, Jasanoff says, owing in part to technological determinism, a semi-conscious belief that innovation is intrinsically good and that the frontiers of technology should be pushed as far as possible….”

“The author argues for an entirely new body of ethical discourse, going beyond technical risk assessment to give due weight to economic, cultural, social and religious perspectives.”

The rest can be read at Nature.com.