11/16/2023 - Technology and Innovation

The weight of innovation and the responsibility this entails

By pablo ortega

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Technology and innovation are one of the few constants that have been with humanity forever. This is mainly due to the inherent nature of humanity to be curious. There is only one way to satisfy curiosity, and it is through discovery, and although it is the curiosity that killed the cat, the popular saying is incomplete, the full saying is: "The curiosity killed the cat, but the satisfaction brought back." Discovery is never bad or evil, simply "es", the purpose given by its descubridor, this could go in any direction, that is why as scientists, morals and ethics should never stand back, "in the name of science", it really is not a sufficiently good justification for most things, especially in the present.

But as I mentioned earlier, curiosity is one of the main innate characteristics that humans have always had, and those who have proposed to satisfy this curiosity have been called in many ways over time, sorcerers, alchemists, magicians, rare and finally scientists, who have not the same mystical properties as the magicians, but have much more sense, because if the magicians are scientists, then magic is science, and sometimes. People have always sought the reasons behind the phenomena, or behind life itself, and science is simply this, the study of the reasons behind everything, whether the climate, the animals, the plants or the life itself, science has a branch that studies it. So scientists are in charge of explaining everything, more or less. Everyone can agree that "all" is many things, in fact, it is all things, so science has gained some division and branches to administer this gigantic task. So now scientists can be more focused and less crushed, specializing in certain aspects of life and deepening more and more in them, and with more specialization, more innovations and discoveries can be made, but the line between what is worth and what is not really necessary can also start to diffuse.

After all, the more specialized the innovation, the less people can affect, right? Well, not at all, the atomic bomb was an extremely specific discovery within quantum physics, but its implications were, in a very literal, global sense. And here is where one of the heaviest loads of the magical or scientific community comes out to light, as will affect a discovery to the rest of the world. Ethics, moral, well and evil, these are all things that scientists cannot ignore in their respective fields of work, in a perfect reality, science would be accomplished with the sole purpose of exploring and marveling, but this is not the world in which we live, so there is always the possibility that anything done may have negative repercussions, and this always considering that all discoveries are initially made for the benefit of humanity, after all, there have always been sors.

This metaphor also applies to the rest of the world, if science is magic and scientists are sorcerers, good, not everyone can become one, and most are not sure how science really works or why things happen. They may have something close, but mostly superficial, and without having detailed knowledge of some things, the possibilities of wrong interpretation are much greater. A clear example can be seen with the COVID-19 crisis. This was a complicated time for everyone, but the scientific community worked hard to help and provide as much information as possible for people to be calm. However, many rumors began to circulate, some about how security measures were false, or that vaccines had microchips, or that hospitals were reaping synovial fluid. All this to say that people need to learn more about things they do not know, but also one of the secondary works of scientists is to keep well informed to the population and discredit any false information.

But as mentioned before, there are some people who can innovate without the best intentions in mind. For this, war can always come to mind, and although it is true that armed conflicts are some of the strongest engines of innovation, some of these innovations are not really for the benefit of all humanity, yet would not classify them as evil, after all, war is a disaster of a perspective, and it is also not good.

With all this in mind, scientists must adhere to a strict moral code, and also comply with standards established by things like bioethics or official norms, and obviously laws. The term "bioethics" was first introduced in 1969, a new philosophical and ethical field focused mainly on the ethical dilemmas related to patient care and treatment. But that was not all, this field continued to grow and evolve, covering many topics that extended beyond medicine and began to enter genetics, experimentation with animals, among others. (Scher, 2018) Today, bioethics can be defined as "a practical deliberation of ethical requirements relating to respect for human and non-human life and the promotion of human dignity in the biomedical field, health care, health institutions, policies and systems." (NIH, 2023)

This is one of the main forces that regulate the scientific community and is applied by different institutions and committees, an example of this can be found in most universities, where for any kind of experience, there should be a review request by the ethics committee, and if the experiment includes animals, then the Internal Committee for the care and use of laboratory animals (CUAL), will engage and determine whether the experiment can continue or not. The largest scale, we can find things like the Mexican Official Standards, which are a set of rules that determine what is due and should not be done in most production systems, including scientific experiments. Following the same previous example, laboratory animals are strictly regulated and is the NOM-062-ZOO-1999 that establishes all parameters that must be met for the use of these animals, regulating everything from the conditions in which they should be kept, to the methods of slaughter and the treatments allowed. (Mexico Gobierno, 2001) All this is done with the best interest in mind and, in this particular case, with the intention to cause the least amount of stress and harm to these animals. And then, of course, national laws and international treaties have a great weight in how experiences are carried out. Some examples are the federal health law in Mexico and the declaration of Helsinki for international regulation. (WMA, 2017)

All this is very well and indeed is of great help to keep the experimentation regulated and controlled, in the hope that all are destined to provide some kind of beneficial results and avoid the experimentation that aims to destroy. But all these tools can only reach a certain point, each person must follow some kind of moral compass and has the inherent responsibility to do good, to seek the greatest benefit for all.

Moral is something so ambiguous and everyone is responsible for their own actions and the consequences they may have. Being good or bad is not so simple, and as it has been said from the beginning, science will never be evil, discoveries will never mean something bad, but people must be aware of the potential that have scientific discoveries and cannot be careless in the way they use them or expose them to the world. There are so many people and in comparison so few scientists, and the discoveries are not just for those who do them, but for all. With great power comes a great responsibility, and being the craftsmen of magic we are, we have a lot of power, it depends on us the way we use it.

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pablo ortega

pablo ortega

Hello, I am Pablo Ortega Ferron, a Biotechnology undergraduate student at Anáhuac University, currently developing my graduation project focused on observing the different effects that type 2 diabetes mellitus has on memory and learning. I have a special interest in clinical research, mainly focused on medical biotechnology and genetic topics.

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