Digital and genetic techniques increasingly influence life. Our belief in progress through technology stands in the way of a moral debate on this development.
By Rinie van Est
We keep a close watch on what voters and members of parliament want, but the future of our society is determined by something else: technological development. At least, that’s what thinkers such as Dominique Janicaud believe, who wrote: ‘Technological power is more revolutionary than any revolution; it comes from above, no one can know where it is going’. In views such as these, the role of politics is limited to properly spreading technological innovations. I do not agree with this. Without trying to undermine the revolutionary force of technology, I do think politics is capable of a democratic steering of technology to a certain degree. In fact, I believe that interaction between the political domain and the techno-economic domain is the essence of our democracy. But here, politics is neglectful, because it has a blind spot for the ideological role that technology plays in our society.