The New York Times has a story about new technology that allows you to skip straight to someone's voice mail...
When Alexis Gorman, 26, wanted to tell a man she had been dating that the courtship was over, she felt sending a Dear John text message was too impersonal. But she worried that if she called the man, she would face an awkward conversation or a confrontation.
So she found a middle ground. She broke it off in a voice mail message, using new technology that allowed her to jump directly to the suitor’s voice mail, without ever having to talk to the man — or risk his actually answering the phone.
You'll hear me talk a lot about morality on this blog and at first glance that might seem out of place given it's tech nature. But I don't think it is.
What technology does in a nutshell is to give us greater control over the environment we live in. That control not only enables us to do things in new ways but also requires us to consider the implications those new ways.
Let's take a break up (as depicted above) for example. When you break up with someone and it isn't mutual the other person is going to feel most of the pain. By allowing them to vent during the break up you can, to some small extent, alleviate that pain. You in effect take on some of the burden yourself by trading your anxiety (at having to sit through the conversation) for some small comfort that is given to the other person.
By using this technology you are denying that other person the comfort of venting. So the implications of using technology like this is to inflict more pain onto the person who is already shouldering the overwhelming majority of it. Which, if you cared for that person at all, is something you should want to prevent.
Now Ms Gorman is clearly not a really great person and I doubt she'd care either way. The issue here is for people who aren't as morally bankrupt as her to realize how this technology can cause pain and to use it (or not use it) accordingly.
Which brings us back to morality and it's relationship to technology.
When I stray into the topic of morality on this blog it's because I firmly believe that each new technology opens up new moral implications and that it's important to consider those before using that technology. To not do so is to run the risk of becoming people like Ms. Gorman.
That's a risk I personally wouldn't want to take.