Abner presented a well-knit analysis of the subject under consideration. He wrote a creative piece, well-structured in impressive language. He is the runner-up for the Net Solutions scholarship campaign for 2021-2022.
The world is a kingdom with gifted members that each collectively has a role to play. Over time and throughout history, men and women were endowed by their Creator with gifts and talents. They used these gifts in the “street markets” as they became “tinkerers, apothecaries, and tool smiths” of the ancient kingdoms. Over time these jobs become the interconnected Metaverse, the computer scientist that develops ever-intelligent A.I. systems, the pharma-tech companies that solve longstanding infertility issues, and reproductive technologies that facilitate gene therapy and enhancement.
As technology evolved, the role of Technology companies, both large and small, began shifting from the “tool-smiths” of old to the agents of social and cultural transformation by creating rapidly evolving technologies that solve problems yet raise deep moral questions.
The “ancient street marketplaces” have developed into a hybrid of virtual and physical entities responsible for providing the tools and services to individuals and consumers and contributing to the interconnected social network of virtual environments known as the Metaverse. Technology companies like iTechArt, Occulus, Samsung, and QuyTech have been developing Virtual Reality (VR) software (Software Testing Help, 2022) and hardware that allows users to communicate instantly in a virtual environment through the use of the internet. Now more than ever, people can share with their loved ones millions of miles away through phone calls and in realistic virtual environments.
Virtual reality technology is used as training simulations for real-life patients in the medical field. In engineering, VR headsets are used to create full replicas of prototypes for real-world projects. Moreover, VR is only the first step, and there has been a significant push by technology companies to implement more Augmented Reality (AR) software because it provides an extra level of accuracy and precision to medical applications, for example. Imagine the ease of communication that one engineering team could have with another team when they have Augmented reality prototypes of a building product or the newest car model. Imagine the possible simulations that a navigation technology manufacturers can participate in testing their cars, plane manufacturers test the endurance of an airplane wing, or even plan and design a clean technology grid of solar panels and wind turbines down to the most minute detail.
The “wacky tinkerers” of the ancient world have become the data scientist and teams within Tech companies. They have developed Artificial Intelligence (AI) programs that “learn” on their own based on neural network software to perform deep calculations and accomplish complex goals. These programs are being developed by companies such as AKASA, Involve.ai, NVIDIA, People.ai (Schroer, 2022), and others. These companies are implementing solutions to the high costs of employing doctors in hospitals. They are developing machine learning solutions that use high-precision machines with AI to perform exact operations.
DNS Filter uses AI programs to track and secure virtual environments by analyzing all 36 threat areas and adapting to company demands. NVIDIA uses AI to create sharper renderings of virtual 3D models in video games. Involve.ai uses AI to track, monitor, organize, and sort business data and analytics to ease the burden on web and cloud servers. AI is even used in Airline Revenue management, Air Safety, Airplane Maintenance, Crew Management (Altexsoft.com, 2021), etc.
Furthermore, AI has been shaping how companies conduct digital marketing since now; companies can use machine learning algorithms to present products to customers based on their recent searches on the internet. AI is being used in customer service using chatbots. Companies like Appier are using AI to determine why customers left due to changing to competitors or a change in their lifestyle and adapt to their reason by creating discounts or sending personalized messages (Koidan, 2020).
The “midwives and apothecaries” of old have been replaced by the Pharma-Tech Companies that create technology that enables Artificial Insemination, In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), and Surrogacy to provide solutions to fertility and infertility concerns. For those unfamiliar, Artificial insemination is a process of artificially placing sperm in a woman to make her pregnant, whereas; In Vitro Fertilization is when a laboratory uses medical technology to insert a sperm into an egg cell outside of the woman’s womb, then placing the fertilized egg back into the womb.
These reproductive technologies have enabled greater freedom for women across the whole world. Since the 1980s, the CDC (cdc.gov, 2020) has been using Artificial reproductive technologies to help women get pregnant and carry a child to term in the United States. This is not only occurring in the United States. It is also happening in European countries, India, and China. A recent publication by the Electron Physician (Physician, 2015) reported estimated that more than half a million countries in Europe and Asia have been using derivatives of In Vitro Fertilization. These technologies are beneficial, but they are reshaping the world’s perception of what motherhood and fatherhood mean.
These technologies raise great moral questions that families need to wrestle with. For example: What does it mean for a mother to carry a child in her womb that is not hers? Is it ethical and safe to inject sperm into an egg in a lab using artificial means? At what point have we as a society crossed the line into playing God? Do these technologies create the possibility for Eugenics? What effect do these technologies have on the emotional, physical, psychological, and spiritual welling of the family unit? These and many other questions must be answered when creating technologies that can potentially alter how families in different societies operate.
Lastly, the” tool smiths of old” who used iron and bronze to design tools, weapons, and armor have transformed into Bioengineering Companies designing and using gene editing technology as therapy for degenerative genetic disorders. Technology like CRISPR/Cas9, TALENS, and ZFN (Thomas Gaj, 2016) is being used by companies like Athersys, Elevate Bio, JW Therapeutics, Antrogen, and many other others to effectively search within a person’s DNA and find the sections that are causing the genetic disorder and remove or replace those parts (Constance, 2020). Additionally, these companies are researching ways of developing and 3D printing plant, animal, and human organs that have malfunctioned and replacing those organs entirely to enhance the already existing capabilities of the human body.
What could this mean for the Gymnast aspiring to the Olympics but encountering a fatal muscle or tendon injury? What could this mean for the family member with lung cancer if they can operate on the tumor and implant a new lung? What could this mean for the downtrodden father diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes or the child with bone cancer? Imagine the solutions to these health concerns that are being researched today. More than these, imagine the genetic and super enhancements that will be feasible soon.
With these technologies, an athlete could gain extra strength, a blind person would regain the ability to see, a person with paralysis would regain the ability to walk, the mute would be able to speak clearly, and the deaf would be able to hear. The people who are marginalized and cast aside in society would be able to participate in their normal day-to-day lives and contribute to society as a whole. The social impact of these technologies would be tremendous. However, the questions raised would be some of the deepest yet. Where would we draw the line between enhancement and therapy? Are we willing to allow some people to receive enhancements if that would mean others do not? Would this technology contribute to greater or less equality of opportunity? Who would determine what, how, and by what means these technologies are used? What effect would these technologies have on future generations? To what degree should we edit babies’ genes with degenerative diseases or unfavorable traits? What would we lose in humanity in our efforts to improve humanity?
Since ancient times, technology has shifted societies’ social and cultural fabric. As brilliantly gifted innovators guided human history, they formed businesses and corporations that rose and fell as their society needed. They created marketplaces, tool forges, herbs and remedies, and tools used in everyday life. Over time their roles have developed while guided by the hand of their Creator, who gifted men and women and allowed them to create Technology companies that continue to transform the social and cultural fabric of the future.