Technology has advanced at a rapid pace. Today, it encompasses almost every aspect of our lives. And there is still a great deal left. Thus, ethical consideration in technological innovation has become urgent. Where does one draw the line? We can’t stifle innovation, as it is the road to our future. But at the same time, we have to recognize the need for a global responsibility toward unhinged technological advancement. The need for a balance between technological innovation and responsibility has never been more paramount. And it is something this article delves directly into.
Why Ethics is Important in Technology
Ethics is important. It can’t be stressed enough. As technology brings forth new ideas and growth, it also impacts our society and economy. And with such an intricate topic, there are times when someone gets hurt in the process. Ethics in technology aims to ensure a humane approach to things. Technology is for the betterment of humans, and no technological marvel should be enough for us to forsake our values. But that’s not all. Ethical consideration in technology is also beneficial to those in tech businesses.
Happy or not, technology is now deeply rooted in our lives, and it will only grow more and more abundant. And ethics will help us guide our lives in a world where technology and humanity coexist on a much deeper level. Take AI, for example. Although it is a technological marvel, we have recently discovered how it can be biased, politically incorrect, cause privacy issues, and impact society as a whole. With ethics, we can accurately judge the potential benefit of such a technology against possible harm, allowing us a more factual outlook on things.
Technology is a tool that can either uplift humanity or cause its downfall. The choice lies in our ethical considerations.Tech Quintal
Different Elements of Ethical Consideration
So what is ethics? In simpler words, it is a set of moral rules and guidelines that work for the betterment of society as a whole. As such, there are actual elements of ethical consideration like:
It should be self-explanatory. Any technological innovation should be fair. And not only in its applicability or deployment but also in its outcome. We should never promote a technology that will actively undermine a component of society. It is true that there are times when sacrifices are necessary, as the whole society has to evolve according to a better alternative. However, this advancement shouldn’t come at the cost of someone else.
Today, racial profiling has become a major drawback of AI implementation in surveillance. And to be fair, the fault lies in the data model the AI is trained on. But then, where does this data come from?
Any technological innovation should be transparent. We are not talking about proprietary information. But how it actually intends to function or how it will impact the global situation are some questions worth pondering. We assume electrical vehicles are eco-friendly. But are they?
Any technology, before adoption, should be considered extensively. The customer should always make an informed decision. And it is up to the developer to ensure they provide sufficient information for the user. Furthermore, the terms of service and policies should also be clear and precise.
Today, data has become the new gold. Any technology requires sufficient data to not only grow and function better but also for future evolution. However, can someone make use of any data available on the internet? It involves your online data privacy, which is something to be taken seriously. Current AI models are already capable enough to make personalized decisions based on your data. If someone gains unauthorized access to such data, it can be incremental toward the person in question.
Although we enjoy the fruits of technological innovation, there are times when it can be harmful. At such times, we want certain accountability associated with such innovations. When deploying technology that can be revolutionary yet drastic, it requires systematic and responsible accountability. And such accountability can only be achieved by creating clear policies on a global scale.
The past decade is full of examples where tech companies have misused their power, be it Google or Facebook. And all they received was a slap on the wrist. Thus, there should be proper checks and balances in place so that these cases do not repeat. And if they do, there should be proper accountability.
What are the Current Challenges?
Technological advancement is at an all-time high. As such, it has a few challenges that can be solved with the help of ethics. These challenges are:
Breach of Online Privacy
The major concern surrounding technology is the blatant disregard for online data privacy. In this golden age of technology, data is invaluable. We consume and create data daily. And this vast amount of data is virtually available for anyone to misuse. Giant conglomerates use our personal data to create personalized products. We often find a tailor-made solution to our problems online. And it is possible because our private and personal data are unsecured. People can use this data to not only manipulate the masses but also to inflict harm, as we have seen over the years.
Fake News and Misinformation
Fake news is just another caveat to data mismanagement and malicious online practices. There is technology, such as DeepFake, that can manipulate information. And people tend to believe what they see or hear online. Which makes it far easier to propagate false information. It can be detrimental to society. And since there is no potent solution to this menace other than self-awareness and fact-checking, misinformation is yet another hurdle that remains to be overcome by technological innovation.
We certainly can’t stress enough the need for accountability in technology. If there was a time when such drastic changes were needed, it is now, as we have access to such a convenient yet sophisticated level of technology. Companies rely on a mesh of technologies to create a product.
Such technologies are often not owned by them, so there is a lack of responsibility in the public sphere. It is especially so when they are dealing with big data, cybersecurity, or PII. What is the origin of such data, and who is to be held responsible if it is misused? We can’t pursue singular accountability when it comes to technology, as it involves everyone, from the developer to the consumer.
Autonomous Technology or the AI
And lastly, we have autonomous technology and AI. We have already experienced the prowess of self-driving cars and drones. Robotics is also on the cusp of a breakthrough with the aid of AI. But these technological marvels do raise a question. And that is how they will impact our environment and society. Granted, we have to adopt a better alternative to growth. However, there are many concerns regarding AI and autonomous technology.
How to Balance Innovation and Responsibility?
We have to state that balancing innovation with responsibility is the way to go forward. This way, we can ensure that technology will be beneficial to society as a whole. Thus, we as developers and consumers, should also think about the implications and limitations of technological innovation, not just the benefits. Furthermore, we should task such innovation with ethical considerations that can take into account social and moral virtues.
In the end, we should also work on a universal guideline and a framework of rules and regulations to aid such technological advancement.
Comparative Analysis: Ethical vs. Unethical Technological Innovation
|Ethical Innovation||Unethical Innovation|
|Prioritizes societal well-being||Ignores potential harm|
|Transparent in operation||Operates in secrecy|
|Respects user data privacy||Exploits user data|
|Implements accountability measures||Avoids responsibility|
|Strives for unbiased outcomes||Reinforces bias|