PUBLISHED JULY 30 2020
A rising, and collective, responsibility
In many respects, it’s a sign of progress that ethical considerations are no longer an occasional concern, but core to the way we do business. The COVID-19 pandemic, rising demands for social justice, and the widening digital divide and consequent denial of opportunity for some segments of the population have all put ethics on the agenda of enterprises globally in a way that’s virtually unprecedented. Even better, firms are taking a multitude of positive steps in response, from pledging support to social causes to announcing steps to foster diversity within their workforces.
Most business leaders would acknowledge that technology has ethical implications, but despite technology becoming more and more central to what enterprises do, it’s not always clear how to approach and apply technology in an ethical way. “Technologists have, for a long time, been operating with a utopian mindset,” says Rebecca Parsons, Chief Technology Officer at ThoughtWorks. “The assumption is technology can solve the world’s problems, and there’s no bad technology, it’s just sometimes put to bad uses.”
The truth is to produce positive ethical outcomes and minimize risks, technology has to be managed and monitored as actively as any other aspect of the business - perhaps even more so. This issue of Perspectives will explore the specific strategies and frameworks that can put technology-embracing enterprises on sounder ethical footing.