In a word, humankind has used technology to come to grips with the world for millennia now. Today we are entering a new dimension. Technology is now bearing down on us, quite literally. Anyone who has looked into the future of medicine knows that technical implants and IT will have an instrumental role to play. Biotechnology is yet another chapter in the future story of medicine and is causing us to question our very understanding of what is human. But medicine is just one staging area for the technological revolution that will far overshadow the Industrial Revolution.
The financial sector is another area where technology is bearing down on us. IT has a key part to play. This fact, too, gives rise to a question. Are we handling technology correctly? What standards guide our thinking and action?
Freedom Requires Responsibility
We have passed the point of no return in many areas of technological development. We can no longer go back – nor do we want to. But we must improve our skills and become more reflective and more active in shaping reality. We need to be aware of the new opportunities and challenges. Global information technology is indispensable for that purpose. It provides potential for transparency, for information with a broad impact, and for discussion. Like no medium before, the new information media are enabling a broad public to question things and belief systems, to obtain information as a matter of course, and to develop attitudes and take positions. These new freedoms naturally encourage and demand one thing: personal responsibility. We can only make reasonable use of the new freedoms being opened up to us by new technologies if we show the corresponding responsibility for them. To exercise responsibility, people must have values, points of orientation, and attitudes they all agree upon.