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What is technological humanism and what are the ethical issues it raises?


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Technological innovations such as 5G, intelligent connectivity and collaborative technology promise great changes at the business level and at the social level. However, this increase in interconnectivity also comes with greater responsibility: greater technological capacity empowers individuals, companies and governments to influence the day-to-day lives of citizens in all aspects of their lives.

Technological humanism emerges in response to the new challenges posed by digital transformation. Our article explores it in depth, and we include notes about the first steps taken by the Spanish government towards setting it up and ensuring digital security.

What is technological humanism?

The concept of technological humanism encompasses a wide spectrum of ideas, and as such, it is difficult to define. In general terms, it can be described as a philosophy or ideological current that focuses on the intersection between ethics and technological innovation. In this sense, it defends the responsible use of innovative technology for the benefit of society, and promotes innovation through ethical channels that ensure the development of the human being.

The field of study of technological humanism is as broad as the technology itself. Its framework of action includes several areas, among which stand out digital rights, the defense and protection of private data, network security, the fight against the exclusion of the digital divide and the study of the ethical impact of high technology in fields such as science, education, politics and economics.

Due to the large number and variety of fields affected by technology, transversal action is necessary. Therefore, the efforts of technological humanism at the Spanish and European levels focus on developing a series of rights that can be applied in any of these contexts indicated above.

As we will see in the following sections, the objective of technological humanism is to guarantee that citizens’ rights are also protected in the digital sphere. To do this, coordinated action by the government, the legislature, and the judicial system at the national and international levels will be necessary.

What is technological humanism based on?

It’s worthwhile exploring the possible issues raised by technological innovation in order to see in more detail how technological humanism matters.

Today, we live in a world that is immersed in a digital transformation that can be considered the fourth industrial revolution. The widespread implementation of disruptive technologies such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, blockchain and the Internet of Things will soon cause a radical change in the functioning of society.

This transition to a hybrid society between the digital and the real implies a transfer of power to large technology companies. In other words, life in society will be marked by the decisions of private entities that operate on a global scale.

The management of our data by these corporations requires strict control by public institutions, which must protect the rights of users and regulate digital behavior. Likewise, blockchain technology and the popularization of digital currencies has also allowed the emergence of an economic system very different from the traditional one, which makes the implementation of digital standards and security surveillance essential to regulate the market and prevent fraud.

Beyond these areas, the emergence of new technologies also highlights digital inequality: many citizens still do not have access to digital devices that are increasingly necessary or do not have the resources to learn their use properly and responsibly. To make an efficient and fair transition to an increasingly digitized world, it is necessary to join forces and promote policies that accompany citizens and prepare them for the changes that lie ahead.

Accordingly, technological humanism has several objectives:

  • Eliminate the digital divide: In order to eliminate the digital divide, it is necessary to offer training on new technologies to all members of society. Lack of access to advanced technologies produces social, economic and cultural inequality.
  • Ensuring user privacy: The transfer of private data on the Internet is a major problem. Strict regulation is necessary to protect the privacy of all users and to ensure that their data is not used without their consent.
  • Ensure the ethical use of new technology: Innovations such as machine learning algorithms have not yet been regulated. Companies that have the ability to collect, interpret and use user data have a power that must be limited by the public authorities.
  • Identify sustainable solutions: Scientific and technological progress has unavoidable impacts on the environment. It is imperative that technological solutions are also sustainable and carried out in an energy-efficient manner to minimize the impact on the environment.

From Mobile World Capital we boost the Digital Future Society initiative, a program that works for building a fairer and more inclusive future through continuous improvement of the technological impact on society. To do this, it connects institutions, civic corporations and academies to generate debate spaces, share knowledge and create solutions for the challenges presented by digital progress and bring them closer to citizens through open spaces where they can excange ideas.