Imagining the Future Thinking about the future may seem like playing a guessing game. With everything that is happening in the present, somehow we already have a set of ideas of what the future will be. However, we can never be certain. Patterns may be present as shown by statistical regularity yet we cannot predict what exactly is going to happen next. The word ‘technology’ is associated with the future. As Yual Levin said, most arguments about technology are therefore really arguments about the future. In particular, the debate on biotechnology is a major issue.
The first side sees the future as the future innovation, while the other side sees it as the future generation. The innovation-driven perspective is concerned in the development of new tools, acceptance of new ideas, and discovery of possible solutions to the world’s existing dilemmas – all for the betterment of the majority or everybody, if possible. This view is all about optimism and taking responsibility to everything around us. The view of future innovate inspires the people to enhance their knowledge and skills in order be prepared for the future.
The view of future generation is more concerned of the human biological continuity. The intense development of knowledge is not very much favored in this view. Those who adhere to this perspective believe that no matter how much we strive to achieve high level of knowledge, we cannot pass them to the next generation. The future generation will also go through what we have been through. The task of initiation and continuation must be passed to every generation, because if not, the link will be damaged.
Along with the damage are the blur of the past and the uncertainty of the future. The two views have different attitudes towards science. The innovation-driven perspective sees science as an effective vehicle towards progress. Science enables us to understand the past, to experiment with the present, and to anticipate the future. Moreover, it is also science which motivates our curiosity to discover more than what we already know. Aside from being a vehicle, the innovation-driven view regards science as the trigger to forward-looking faith for progress.
Science also provides unlimited scrutiny to the environment which may lead to something fruitful in the future. On the other hand, the view of future generation sees science as a threat to the lives of the future citizens. The people who adhere to this perspective believe that instead of innovations, family, communities, institutions and culture must always be present in shaping the next generation. The aim for development also threatens our traditions. Although the two contrasting sides have a strong stand, there are also pitfalls each must avoid.
In the innovation-driven view, the first pitfall is the lure of utopia. Utopian fantasies may entail a sense of better days to come. However, the innovation-driven view assures that the goal is to achieve progress, step by step. Another pitfall in this view is the missing link. The amount of time taken in order to accomplish the goal is not certain. In the view of future generation, the pitfalls involve closing off the future and the human dignity and the culture. What we must consider today is not choosing our side between the two.
We must bridge their gap instead. Innovation is not bad when done moderately so as not to forget about the tradition In the Shadow of Progress Technology is continuously evolving, that’s the reality that we all have to face. What we may be utilizing then may be obsolete now, or the designs made more high-tech. Everyday processes, whether cognitive or physical, is now aided with computers and chemicals that hasten or delays natural occurrences. In the olden ages, these are considered a myth, things that are only possible with a little voodoo and a swish of the wand.
Now, we have a device or a concoction for everything: a magic serum for hair growth; a cell phone for easy feedback. Those are only simple technologies, however. There are higher, more complex technologies out there that may or may not be contributive to the moral realm of the people. In Eric Cohen’s book, he introduced and explained to us the “moral challenges” that accompanies a technological advancement, especially in the field of Bioethics. He implies that there usually are ethical disagreements where science and morality meet.
He asked several questions, the answers to which are hard to define by just about anyone. There are facets to every debate, a pro and a con, and those are not infallible in the discussion of ethics and morality. Rich people do not want to have children, and this limits the gene pool. This is in conflict of the “go forth and multiply” notion of marriage. We find cures to diseases but in the process of doing so, we kill embryos, totally ignoring the long held idea that once the sperm meets the egg, life exist in that cluster of cells.
No wonder we hear protesters rallying against the use of live specimens for experimentation and the Church pressing for a refresher in morality. The idea of being natural seems to be a thing of the past. Experts discover chemicals that alter brain processes, making us feel high or low. These drugs, unfortunately, are not well-regulated. Do you see where it led us to? Ecstasy and Meth passed around in bars is the idea of our teenagers’ “good time. ” Addicts lurk behind alleys to hitch a joint in private.
Then we’d see news clips bearing the headline of death by drug overdose the next day. The most bothering threat is its inevitability. These are all bound to happen if we want to experience a better shot at life. Ironically, these advancements are the cause of our lives’ disarray. The truth is that no one wants to go back to the past and experience all the hardship that right now they think they could alleviate. It’s a win-lose situation, but let’s face it: Who does not want a better future? Source: Yuval Levin, “Imagining the Future,” The New Atlantis, Number 4, Winter 2004, pp. 48-65.