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Ethics in technology times


The world is changing. What was unthinkable yesterday, is routine today. Technology brings immense possibilities that the majority of the world is not even thinking about. Some of these are:

 

1.    Faster global connectivity at reduced rates.

2.    Increase in longevity of human beings.

3.    Ease of buying things at your doorsteps

4.    Artificial intelligence and robotics

5.    Improved quality of life in general.

6.    Improved quality of emissions

7.    Ease of transportation

8.    Ability to sense and know anything, anytime, anywhere, and

9.    Increased focus on sustainability and the environment

 

We all are celebrating these advancements. But at the same time wars are being fought. Russia Ukraine and Israel Hamas are current examples. I am not discussing here who is right and who is wrong. That way we can justify everything happening in the world. The fact is the world is at crossroads. The same technology is equally useful for construction as well as destruction. And the chasm keeps on increasing. And there seems to be no way out of the current scenario. Fortunately, there is a way, if we are willing to listen.

 

When we educate the society, we are making them literate, we are making them knowledgeable, we are making them skilled. We help people to live their lives in a dignified way, meeting all their needs. We leave them to decide what is right or what is wrong. We also tell them that we must fend for ourselves. We need to be focused on the safety of the self if we must survive. We are told to be aware of strangers. We are told to remain with people, who are like us. We are told that others are looking to take everything that we have if we are not strong and united. We build a safety wall around ourselves. People are not allowed to enter. With those teachings, how else the world will shape up? A feeling of fear and mistrust prevails in the society.

 

To correct this, each of us must be a bit more careful in our behavior and talks. We must teach ourselves first a new mindset so that we can pass it on to the new generations. This mindset will produce a shift in our old beliefs to a new set of beliefs. These will be:

 

1.    We all individuals are a part of the universe, and we are all connected. Collectively, we make the world. What one does, affects others. So, if we want this world to be a better place, we must be concerned about others.

2.    Collectively, we can do far more than what we can do individually.

3.    Some people can have ulterior motives, but most of the people are good.

4.    One religion is not better than others. All lead to the same Creator. So, trying to prove that my God is superior to yours, shows a very low level of religious beliefs and thoughts.

5.    What is ours today, will go to someone else sooner or later. Nothing is permanent. All of us will die.

6.    We took birth on this earth to make it a better place, not to create chaos and conflict.

7.    It gives more happiness to help others than accumulating assets. People who have not tried this may not realize this fact.

8.    Helping others does not guarantee a similar reaction from the same person, but your act of goodness is stored in a virtual depository, and comes back to you from some other sources when you really need it.

9.    If you are happy, you feel better, you spread happiness.

10. Both anger and happiness produce similar reactions around you. We are a part of the environment and we are creating the environment at the same time by our interaction.

 

These points are not in any serial order. They have been put as they kept on coming to my mind. Now, let us come back to the heading of this post - Need of Ethics. Hinduism defines ethics as –

 

These correspond to five Yamas of ancient Hindu ethics: Ahimsa (non-violence), Satya (truth, non-falsehood), Asteya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya (celibacy if unmarried and non-cheating on one's partner if married), and Aparigraha (non-possessiveness).

 

The “Yama” is the part of Indian “Ashtang Yoga”.

 

Similar basic virtues have been defined by other religions. If we bring these ethics into our daily lives, all the ten points covered above will be taken care of and the conflicts in our life will be reduced considerably.

 

Since none of us can change the world, can we start changing ourselves first – the one person over whom we should have full control? If we try to know ourselves internally, this seemingly difficult act becomes simpler. When we know the actual reasons behind our every action, we realize that some of these can and must be amended for a larger perspective. We must think of our generations to come and not of only short-term gains in our personal lives.

 

Let us adopt ethics in the highly charged technological world from now onwards. Will you? Drop a line in the comment section. Thanks for reading till the end.


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