This essay calls attention to major socio-technical forces that are gathering momentum, accelerated by COVID-19, yet largely out of the public eye. Rapid digital technological change that concentrates power in the emerging realms of cyber space and robotics, is a transforming force that may damage human-centric systems and society. Paradoxically, currently conceived COVID mitigation policies when combined with power-concentrating digital technology may undermine social equality, labor markets, human community, health, and culture in the long term. Since technological systems create their own inertia and tend to 'lock in' early decisions, it is difficult to reverse mistakes. Leaders need to act early to reconsider the unintended second and third order effects of COVID responses that rely on digital technology. The essay lays out four policy recommendations, to include a new investment program for human-centric labor markets; investment in universities to help create humane digital society and to prepare the next generation to flourish in this transformed world; requests the newly elected American president to establish a national-level Task Force to develop new policies and ethics for the digital age; and lastly, a windfall profits tax on digital companies that benefited by the pandemic. The essay ends with a challenge to this generation of leaders to ensure the post COVID-era will privilege not the digital machines and the small group who own them, but promote a reinvigorated, natural, human society of all Americans.
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The Northern Plains Ethics Journal’s editorial board welcomes submissions in the humanities focusing on ethical issues affecting the Northern Plains – very broadly understood – for the 2021 edition of the journal. Submissions need not be focused solely upon the United States of America’s Northern Plains, but the ethical issues which the submissions address should be made relevant to the region.
The Northern Plains Ethics Journal is the first peer-reviewed ethics and philosophy journal in North Dakota. The NPEJ’s mission is to create a high-quality dedicated publication platform to promote democratic participation in social and ethical issues affecting the Northern Plains and beyond.
To fulfill this charge, the NPEJ has become a marketplace for the accumulation, dissemination, discussion, and recognition of scholarship, ideas, and other work related to ethical issues affecting the USA’s Northern Plains. The NPEJ’s provides a broad foundation for accessing work related to understanding and investigating past and present social and ethical issues, which is instrumental and critical in finding solutions for challenges faced by communities in the region, country, and world.
Submissions and questions should be sent by email to Professor Dennis Cooley, Managing Editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org by no later than 30 September 2021. There is no limit to word length.
All submissions that pass an initial editorial review are peer-reviewed.
Upon acceptance, please use the Chicago Manual of Style to format your final paper, including endnotes and a bibliography. You can access the CMS here.