Undesirable advances in science and technology

Other Names:
Harmful development of scientific knowledge
Harmful application of technical development
Dangerous scientific progress
Research with potential adverse effects

The research areas in question do not lend themselves easily to classification. Scientific activity is extremely wide-ranging and encompasses all aspects of human life, from the time the embryo is conceived to the time a human being is born, lives and finally disappears or, to be less categorical, departs for a better world. There are some areas of activity, however, which appear more risky than others and which require constant attention: (a) medicine and health, (b) computing and (c) nuclear energy.


Advances in science and technology can rebound adversely against man, if they are used for purposes other than those intended. Man cannot be left alone with science and technology without trying to go further than what is good for him. Under the influence of his success, his illusions, his passions or his inflated pride, man is capable of taking an irreparable step, destroying his life and his very existence with the very science and technology he himself invented.

Counter Claim:

Advances in science and technology have been and are being initiated by man, a being equipped with the ability to reason, to deduce, to structure his thoughts, to accumulate knowledge and to draw conclusions. These advances have given him the means of overcoming obstacles, of broadening his horizon, of discovering the infinitely small and of stretching his hopes in all directions towards the impossible. Thus man, who used to believe in the power of objects and to worship them, discovered thanks to his scientific and technical progress that objects on their own are inert and infertile, and that abilities, skills and procreation are man's attributes, and that by implementing and developing his own science and his own technology, he can derive the greatest benefit, not only for himself, but also for the whole of the society in which he lives. He reached the conclusion that the quality of sacredness belongs not to objects, but to man, who can create, invent and change objects and other living beings, or make them disappear. Some went as far as to say that the technology invented by man "achieves what divine intervention achieved in nature and human intervention in history."

Problem Type:
J: Problems Under Consideration
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 1: No PovertyGOAL 2: Zero HungerGOAL 3: Good Health and Well-beingGOAL 4: Quality EducationGOAL 5: Gender EqualityGOAL 6: Clean Water and SanitationGOAL 7: Affordable and Clean EnergyGOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and InfrastructureGOAL 10: Reduced InequalityGOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and CommunitiesGOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and ProductionGOAL 13: Climate ActionGOAL 14: Life Below WaterGOAL 15: Life on LandGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong InstitutionsGOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal
Date of last update
05.01.2018 – 19:37 CET