Ethics is often defined as the process of moral thinking. Furthermore, it is personal ethics is often characterized as a sense of integrity. The word integrity is rooted in the word integral. Integral means something so important that if it is left out, the whole ceases to be what it is in essence. To integrate is to make a thing or oneself an indispensable part of a greater whole. One who leads without integrity is no such leader at all. To have a future, our integrity must be intact. As people seek to enhance their individual survival potential with the use of technology, mastery precludes the necessity of thinking about that use in terms of ethics. For social networking technologies, integration is key, but how should technology be used? It is not sufficient that one should do something just because they can. To narrow the question, a look at major changes in the technological history of our species may give clues to how the question might be answered. Let us begin with the spear. It could be used to protect or provide food for family, but it could also be used to murder. What about fire? I can protect people from wild animals, and it provides warmth and the ability to cook food. It can also burn down a hut and severely harm the skin. Both are similar to the firearm in those respects. What about less potentially violent inventions such as the caravel, a ship well suited to rough waters. Would it have been appropriate for Spain to build these ships but only sail them on calm waters? What about the removable type printing press? Should Guttenberg use it to only provide books to the rich? How about the aircraft carrier? Would it be prudent to build without ever unveiling it as a deterrent, or to use it as a weapon of aggression? What about the atom bomb? Must it be used, just because it is built? What we seem to be developing here is a number of scenarios for the ethical use of technology:
It should be used in such a way as to avoid harming people and wildlife.
It should be used to enhance life.
It should be used as it is intended.
It should be used to improve society.
It should be used as protection and in avoidance of tragedy.
It should be used temperately.
The key question is how should technology be used?