Public non-accountability of organizations developing technology
Many institutions including corporations, military commands, research institutes and universities developing technology are not accountable to the public in any way for the use or consequences of the products they are developing. In large part, the highly competitive atmosphere in which research is done results in great efforts to maintain secrecy during the development process and in some cases after the product is in use; for example, the Stealth Bomber was virtually operational before it came to the public's attention. Also, in many cases the impact of a product is not clear until after the product has been in use for some time. But the main reasons for the failure in accountability to the public are neither the public wants the responsibility nor the organization wants to be accountable.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
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