Beyond good intentions — a critical review of Deloitte’s report on the ethical dilemmas facing the tech industry

A more holistic approach to the major ethical dilemma facing today’s technology industry can help companies differentiate, preserve their reputations and better prepare for and protect the future.

Prolonged ubiquity, scale, and influence, however, have forced the industry to face many unforeseen, difficult ethical dilemmas. These dilemmas weren’t necessarily created by the tech industry, but many in the industry find themselves at a ‘convergence point’ where they can no longer leave these issues at the margins.

Until clear and universal standards emerge, the industry continues to work toward addressing this dilemma…Will companies simply do the minimum amount required to comply with data-related regulations, or will they go above and beyond to collect, use, and protect data in a more equitable way?

It’s increasingly important that AI-powered systems operate under principles that benefit society and avoid issues with bias, fairness, transparency, and explainability.

It’s increasingly important that AI-powered systems operate under principles that benefit society, and avoid issues with bias, fairness, transparency, and explainability.

“Five key moves to help build clarity and capacity”

To take a holistic approach across all ethical dilemmas to better uncover and address inevitable problems, technology companies can focus on five key moves to build more clarity around their ethical responsibility and a stronger capacity to operationalize their ethical principle.

1. Integrate across the business life cycle

2. Invest in specialized ethics talent. Having one or more ‘heavy-duty,’ academically trained ethicists, fluent in the industry dilemmas, available to the company can help move the organization past compliance and traditional business ethics. Start with comprehensive ethics education, not for everyone, but keyboard members, executives, technical staff, and other leaders.

3. Build and train from the top, the bottom, and across

4. Be as predictive and extensive as possible

5. Collaborate with partners and competitors to improve the entire industry.

My take

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