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The Technological Mediation of Morality: Explained

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3D Ultrasound - Does this change our moral perception of the unborn child?People have been talking about the death of privacy for at least three decades. The rise of the internet, mass surveillance and oversharing via social media have all been seen as knells summoning it to the grave. In our everyday behaviours, in our choices to use platforms that engage in routine and indiscriminate digital surveillance, we supposedly reveal a preference for digital convenience and social interaction that indicates a willingness to sacrifice our privacy. Despite this, privacy advocates claim that privacy has never been more alive than it was before. Indeed, they argue that it is precisely because privacy is under threat, and because we are forced to make compromises with respect to privacy in our day-to-day lives, that we should care about it more than we did before. This is just one example of how technology seems to have an effect on our moral values. On the one hand, the creation of new technologies — in this case the internet and smart devices — has created new opportunities for tracking, surveillance and spying. This puts privacy in the vice. On the other hand, the increased pressure on privacy activates it in our minds and makes us worry about it more than ever. We respond by calling for new social norms with respect to the use of surveillant technologies, as well as legal reforms and protections. Philosophers of technology sometimes explain this phenomenon by using the concept of technological mediation. The idea, in brief, is that technology mediates our relationship to the world: it changes how we perceive ourselves, our actions and our relationship to the world. This, in turn, has an effect on our moral perceptions and actions. Technology is never really value neutral: it comes loaded with moral significance and meaning. But its value-ladenness is not something beyond our control. All people involved in the design and use of a technology have some say in the moral. . .

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News source: Philosophical Disquisitions

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