A lively and entertaining guide to ethics in a technological age.
Most people have a strong sense of right and wrong, and they aren't shy about expressing their opinions. But when we take a polarizing stand on something we regard as an eternal truth, we often forget that ethics evolve over time. Many shifts in the right versus wrong pendulum are driven by advances in technology. Our great-grandparents might be shocked by in vitro fertilization; our great-grandchildren might be shocked by the messiness of pregnancy, childbirth, and unedited genes. In Right/Wrong, Juan Enriquez reflects on what happens to our ethics as technology makes the once unimaginable a commonplace occurrence.
Evolving technology changes ethics. Enriquez points out that, contrary to common wisdom, technology often enables more ethical behaviors. Technology challenges old beliefs and upends institutions that do not grow and change. With wit and compassion, Enriquez takes on a series of technology-influenced ethical dilemmas, from sexual liberation to climate change to the “immortality” of mistakes on social media. (“Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google are electronic tattoos.”) He cautions us to judge those who “should have known better,” given today's vantage point, with less fury and more compassion. We need a quality often absent in today's charged debates: humility. Judge those in the past as we hope to be judged in the future.