The innovative possibilities of technology – as well as the potential of that technology – are progressing at a remarkable pace and creating new possibilities in today's digital economy. This is usually wonderful, with one big warning: we must not forget that just because we have the ability to implement a new technological innovation does not mean that we should. The need to prioritize digital ethics is becoming increasingly important for all organizations that are aware of the mark they leave on society.
The transformative ways in which new technologies – in particular artificial intelligence – are used require deeper discussions about the ethical considerations of these implementations. Depending on the organization and the level of ambition for the implementation of these technologies, it may even be the need for a senior ethics officer to ensure that these issues receive appropriate attention at high levels of the organization.
Not every organization will have the need or ability to invest in a new ethics role, but almost all organizations must give their chief information security officer – or other security leader – sufficient time to anticipate and respond to technological innovations of their organization. abused by people with bad intentions.
Last month, the European Commission took a valuable step in recognizing this new need, and made a series of recommendations that emphasized the need for safe and reliable algorithms and data protection rules to ensure that business interests do not prevail over the well-being of the public. . As the Commission's Digital Chief, Andrus Ansip, said, "The ethical dimension of AI is not a luxury function or an add-on. It is only with confidence that our society can take full advantage of technologies."
Elsewhere in the world, the Australian government is investigating policies that would ensure that AI is developed and applied responsibly. "AI has the potential to offer real social, economic and environmental benefits, to stimulate Australia's economic growth and to make immediate improvements to people's daily lives," said Karen Andrews, industry, science and technology minister the country. "More importantly, we need to ensure that people are heard about any ethical concerns they may have with regard to AI in areas such as privacy, transparency, data security, accountability and equality."
While it is imperative that public authorities play a leading role in addressing these new challenges, a wider global response is needed. It is encouraging that some corners of the academic world recognize the challenge and act accordingly, with Stanford and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at institutions that invest heavily in human-centered AI education.
Existing professionals will also need help explaining the ethical implications of AI & # 39; s accelerated use. The potential for malicious use of AI has led to great concern from international researchers and industry leaders, but there is rarely enough consideration when products are conceived and developed. The stakes are far too high to tolerate such oversight. ISACA research into digital transformation shows that social engineering, manipulated media content, data poisoning, political propaganda and attacks on self-driving vehicles are leading issues for security practitioners when it comes to threats to maliciously trained AI.
Emerging digital ethics issues affect a wide range of sectors, many of which have an inherent impact on public health and safety, such as military training, medical research, and law enforcement. Almost all sectors benefit from technological progress with the potential to generate huge benefits for society, but also face serious ethical issues that should not be taken into account. Published data from nearly 70,000 OkCupid users triggered an ethical approach to ethics about how data should be collected and publicly viewed from above.
The police are increasingly faced with difficult decisions when balancing new surveillance options with the privacy rights of those they have to protect. While AI understandably attracts much of the recent attention when it comes to digital ethics, the ethical challenges arising from digital transformation go much further. Another emerging technology, augmented reality, raises several ethical gray areas, not the least of which are how you can see the blurring of lines whose aspects of an experience are real.
Blockchain implementations also open the door to ethical riddles, such as how private information is recorded on a blockchain potential can be exploited. And ethical considerations will be magnified more in the coming decade as quantum computer developments become sharper and new ethical and security risks with sensitive, encrypted data are triggered.
These are just a few of the serious issues that professionals and their organizations need to be prepared for when it comes to ethics in the age of digital transformation. Increasing acceptance of AI and other high-impact technologies comes with upside potential of great optimism, but the risks are also increasing.
Organizations are obliged to ensure that the rush to innovation does not make the trend or potential profitability of a new implementation the only measure of whether it should be green lighted.
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