The importance of digital ethics

  • techUK techUK
    Thursday26Apr 2018

    Guest blog: Bhumika Zhaveri, Founder and CEO of Interimarket, expands on why digital ethics in AI is so important.

This post originally appeared on the Interimarket blog.

Technology has been drastically expanding over the years. There is technology available to replace our manual efforts of almost anything we do today.

There is even technology to help us flush the toilet!

I am not sure how much I like the idea of having to tell ‘something’ to flush the toilet. However, I am sure that tech itself will be a blessing for individuals who need help with certain basics in life.

Digital Ethics in Artificial Intelligence

The reality is that technology and AI are used for detecting fraud, conducting research, producing translations, and faster logistics, to almost anything.

This is both exciting and worthy of attention from an ethics perspective.

Artificial Intelligence makes our lives so much easier. With such advancement in a different context, many issues and risks have surfaced alongside the need for an extremely responsible use of the same technology.

The digital world today makes it possible to access any form of information. However, with the number of analysts, clients, smartphones, and even social media sites, the word “Digital Ethics’’ is dominant today. This is especially true because along the good we have seen the damage it can do. Hacks into the political and legal systems and fake news, which is all adding to cybercrime. These are the challenges that various economies and countries globally will have to battle, either individually and/or collectively.

Research of Digital Ethics

Research has greatly emphasized that the art of digital ethics. It should be practised by every business and entrepreneur within the realms of technology. It is vital to not only know but realize, the extent of peoples’ vulnerability in new ways online. Ethics is a defined noun by the Oxford Dictionary as “A set of moral principles, especially ones relating to or affirming a specified group, field, or form of conduct.”

We know that ethics refer to the way in which different individuals relate and resolve issues with each other. On the other hand, digital ethics comprises of the way in which online participants communicate and the manner in which the technologies are utilized in these platforms for engagement and more. Moreover, everyone who makes use of the internet, especially in the professional context, from being both a business and a job seeker or contractor, must look into certain issues, like:

  • What do other people think when they find out about me online?
  • Is it ethical for me to search and get more information about other people online?
  • Should I be friends with my clients and colleagues on any social media platform that may not have the setup of always being professional? I.e. Facebook or Instagram etc.

In addition to the above-stated concerns, there are other issues on how to take care of online statements and reviews. We all know that the best way to get answers and solutions to these questions is to comport a search online. By making use of different search terms, you may be surprised at what you find.

Nevertheless, one of the main reasons why digital ethics are important is due to the way in which we present ourselves. The manner of communication. The meanings that could be perceived.

Digital Ethics and Our Online Choices

Another importance of digital ethics is the consideration of our choices online. This is to do with how we represent ourselves and whether the choices made reveals our goal and ambition positively. This includes our lifestyle. Or, is it just noise that no one needs to know about?

Whether rightly or wrongly, social media sites clearly show meaningful perceptions about a person’s behaviour. If the online representation is vital today, then the need to always be mindful of what we share and how is as important as businesses choosing to gather data on our activities.

My question to businesses is always;

  • Why do you collect the data?
  • What good does it bring?
  • How does it help the individual or group? (whose data you hold)

If any data is not bringing an ethical addition to business or someone’s lives we can argue that such data does not need to be held and assessed.

Based on the recent summit held on “digital ethics” in Dec 2017 by TechUK, the challenges raised, and the direction presented, it was clear that the program highlighted the ethical issues related to Artificial Intelligence, in order to create better capabilities and capacities to the way in which the issues are addressed.

More importantly, it is not the AI itself that is responsible, it is the maker who is responsible.

Most of the people who were involved in the summit have also stated and explained their views. Views on how much impact businesses can make on issues related to digital ethics, thus, emphasizing that the civil society, academia, and other groups must also play a role in addressing issues relating to digital ethics.

Now maybe the perfect time to get started on it, if you haven’t already.

To read more from techUK AI Week, visit our landing page.

  • Sue Daley

    Sue Daley

    Associate Director | Technology & Innovation
    T 020 7331 2055

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