Social

ICT and the Alternate Moral Order

Such magnanimous credentials of ICT do often make people and experts, quiet oblivious to the potent conforming impact of technology on the human personality and morality. Technology "performs community" in the sense that it offers a moral order to its subscribers (Woolgar, 2008: 94). Hence, never before the world was so much in danger of being utterly homogenised and standardized as in the contemporary era of IT revolution and widespread techno literacy. So the question that needs to be answered is that do the producers of technology have an implicit or explicit moral agenda, which will lead to an evolution of the society in accordance with the preset norms and requirements
In the given context, it becomes imperative for the inquisitive and the concerned minds to assess the scope for the gratification of the vested interests implicit within the modern technology and to reconsider the assumptions defining the relationship between technology and its ultimate beneficiaries (Woolgar, 1993: 1). Infact ICT tends to mould the users’ preferences and expectations in a very sophisticated and subtle manner. The concept of morals can be defined in a variety of ways. One definition of ‘morals’ facilitated by the Free Online Dictionary is "conforming to standards of what is right or just in behaviour (2009)". It aught to be understood that the technology definitely has social and ethical dimensions, and the producers of technology do have the predilection or tendency to deliberately or inadvertently influence the popular values and culture. Technology does have the power to define what is normal, regular or acceptable. Infact the producers of ICTs do not tend to resort to outright inquisition and coercion like the Catholic Church in the middle ages to ensure conformity to the set standards, but it subscribes to inbuilt assumptions, interpretations and perceptions to calcify the favourable and lucrative ethical moorings in the social mainstream.
It is relatively difficult for the social scientists to grasp the moral ramifications of the assumptions inherent in the techno artefacts because of the possibility of variegated "disciplinary standpoints and research perspectives (Woolgar, 2008: 87)". This enhances the complexity of the plausible prescriptions and perspectives extended to translate the outcome of the technological social codes in a pragmatic social and ethical context. Hence it becomes centric to any approach for understanding the moral dimensions of ICTs, to interpret technology within the framework of cognizable metaphors and systems. This enables an understanding of the technological ethics that is not only refreshingly contemporary in its perspective, but also relevant to a historical and cross cultural understanding of technology.
Such an approach conclusively shuns the concept of technological determinism that holds that technological development is an extremely isolated and self perpetuating process

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