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Ethics in Biology, Engineering and Medicine: An International Journal
SJR: 0.123

ISSN Druckformat: 2151-805X
ISSN Online: 2151-8068

Ethics in Biology, Engineering and Medicine: An International Journal

DOI: 10.1615/EthicsBiologyEngMed.2019031542
pages 49-58

The Ethics of Technology and Innovation: Second Thoughts

David W. Chambers
University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, 155 Fifth St., San Francisco, CA


The impact of technology on ethics in dentistry, and health care in general, has been underestimated because of overly restricted concepts in both technology and ethics. It is customary to think of technology as materials, often only digital items that can be applied by individuals to other individuals. With this view, ethical issues come down to whether the act of performing a procedure in a certain way can be justified by a principle. For the systemic view that is explored here, technology is a change in the relationship among those doing work, those affected directly by the work, and the wider community. Technology is grounded in patterns of human interaction, and technology innovation and diffusion present additional ethical challenges. At the secondary level, they can change the way in which people relate to one another and question who can participate as givers or receivers of health services. Finally, groups have a vested interest in controlling the ground rules for the technologies that exist and who can use them. Ethics is defined as behavior that is ethical when those affected by the behavior would not seek to act otherwise if they were fully informed and free to act as they wished.


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