Join the McKelvy House Scholars online on Sunday at 4 p.m. for a discussion led by Jon White ’21 and Victoria Puglia ’21 on whether universal internet access is intrinsically good. Email the group for the Zoom link. Jon and Victoria provide this background:
Broadly, Sunday’s discussion will analyze technological progress within the digital era and the intricacies involved with making a value judgment about it.
In hopes of having a clear discussion, we will be operating under the following definitions and assumption:
We understand that there might be disagreement about the aforementioned assumptions. However, in order to have a productive discussion, we think it is valuable if we are all addressing our subsequent questions stemming from the same assumptions. Feel free to email us if you vehemently disagree with any of them.
We want to question if universal access to knowledge, via universal internet access, is intrinsically good.
That said, progress does not function in a vacuum. And while it might bring about positive change, there might also be adverse implications with widespread proliferation from technological advances. When thinking about the value of technological progress, we would encourage everyone to think about it as a curve with time as the X-axis and increased utility as the Y-axis. The figure below illustrates this:
The following questions will guide our conversation:
*Comparing money to happiness illustrates the difference between extrinsic and intrinsic value. Money is only good in achieving some end, while happiness is good in itself. As its value is based on something else, money has extrinsic value. Meanwhile, since happiness has value independently, it has intrinsic value.