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Technology and Ethics

Ohio State University via Coursera

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When everyone begins pursuing their rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness we are bound to step on each other’s toes.  This begs the need for regulations.  And this leads to the question as to “what is moral behavior”; and what are the ethics that emanate from the selected definitions of moral behavior. There is no dearth of defined moral behavior created by religions and their leaders, business persons, politicians, philosophers, and in some cases “the everyday person on the street”.

Example technologies at play today include nuclear energy; biological manipulations for warfare; robots for taking care of the elderly, and enhancing human capability; the use of technology for surveillance; the cultural changing power of the media which can create unlimited arrays of images real and virtual to support a point of view; and the internet with its world wide connectivity.

We need to look into social/technology assessment, the transfer of the technology as it is placed into practice, and the techniques/processes that are available for control within the legal, political, institutional and attitudinal environment within which the technology is placed as a way of protecting our rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. 

All lectures and instructional materials developed for this course by the Ohio State University are licensed under the Creative Commons AttributionNonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit


Week One: Introduction to Technology, Ethics, and CultureWeek Two: Expressing Your EthicWeek Three: Technology Impact AssessmentWeek Four: Social Impact AssessmentWeek Five: Technology Diffusion and Transfer
Week Six: Controlling Technology Diffusion and TransferWeek Seven: Course Reflection

Taught by

Robert Bailey


2.3 rating, based on 3 Class Central reviews

Start your review of Technology and Ethics

  • A thread in the course forum started so: "Every single person whose ethics were talked about or were interviewed in this week's lectures were white, male Christians. The professor also talks about Christian doctrine as fact, not belief. As this is a…
  • Anonymous
    This was a really poor class. The Professor seemed not to have any research into the topic himself, so approaches it from his personal background, which is as a nuclear scientist. So, don't really expect any insight into other technologies, and no theoretical discussion at all of ethical systems etc.

    As far as difficulty goes, its very easy. I listened to most of the lectures on 1.75 speed, as there is so little content, you could easily take in the lecture at this speed.
  • Anonymous
    Professor Bailey makes the most interesting course on ethics. His very human approach, and the sensibility with which he leads the students to think over their personal lives and thoughts make this a course that not only provides knowledge, but a really touching reflection on how to live.

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