As technological uptake continues to rise and rise, the ethical impacts of the decisions that are made today become far greater.
Decision making is required around the moral dilemmas that innovative technologies such as AI, automation and big data create.
But who is making these decisions? And who will feel their impact the most?
Director of Legal at Avanade Australia, Caroline Evans, believes that decision-making regarding digital ethics must be a company-wide process.
“A company’s ethics committee was often an extension of governance. Along with Board governance, this ethics committee was traditionally driven by some combination of the CEO, legal/compliance, company secretarial, risk and finance,” said Evans in a recent blog post.
“Digital ethics will require input from all corporate functional areas, and will be most effective with democratic input. The need to be outwards-looking to take consideration of community and regulatory norms will also be important.”
But while most tech companies now have a corporate ethical code, there is still no industry-wide code to help ICT professionals navigate ethical issues.
A recent study by Avanade, that interviewed 500 C-level and IT leaders from companies around the world, found that 42% of C-level executives have experienced a digital ethics issue at work, this was compared to just 28% of business and IT decision-makers.
These companies believe that development of digital ethics guidelines is required to help govern this area, with 84% saying they plan to invest into digital ethics in the next five years, and 43% saying they are developing new roles in this area.
While there are widespread plans to invest in digital ethics in the near future, Evans believes it is now time for action.
“Now is the time to push the conversation beyond the creation of engagement and recognition, into the creation of practical framework implementation.
“These frameworks will need to built-in, not bolted on, and based on dynamic and proactive cultures of trust, integrity and corporate citizenship,” she said.
Caroline Evans will be speaking as part of the ACS’s upcoming Digital Ethics event in Sydney.
Tickets are available here.