Watch now: Digital ethics - are we on the right track?
As part of the techUK talks at this year’s London Tech Week, we hosted an event on the current state of digital ethics, asking if developments in the tech industry, policy and wider digital ethics community are putting us on the right track.
Reflecting particularly on what has happened in the last five years, since the first techUK Digital Ethics Summit, we were joined by a group of highly expert speakers: Jen Rodvold, Head of Digital Ethics & Tech for Good, Sopra Steria; Felicity Burch, Executive Director, Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation; Arnav Joshi, Senior Associate and Digital Ethics Lead, Clifford Chance; and David Frank, UK Government Affairs Manager, Microsoft.
The panel agreed awareness of digital ethics has increased significantly, both within the tech industry and among the wider public. Jen Rodvold emphasised, however, that organisations often need help in applying abstract and academic conversations to their everyday practices. This is where tools such as the ODI Data Ethics Canvas and the government’s Data Ethics Framework have been positive and helpful developments – although many organisations still have further to go in thinking through the ethical implications of every step of their journey.
The UK is well-placed in helping public and private sector bodies through these considerations. As Felicity Burch pointed out, the UK was the first place to establish a body like the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation (CDEI), with over 30 countries across the world now having similar ones. She outlined the priorities for the CDEI going forward, which include giving organisations more confidence in pursuing innovation ethically.
As for the priorities going forward, David Frank highlighted how important it is to build greater public understanding of the implications of engaging with the technologies in our everyday lives, and Arnav Joshi pointed out that there will be a an important conversation about the risks associated with the acceleration in the collection and sharing of data spurred on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The discussion covered many more areas, and to hear the expert insights in full, watch the full recording above.
Emilie joined techUK in June 2021 as the Programme Manager for Digital Ethics & AI.
Prior to techUK, she worked as the Policy Manager at the education charity Teach First and as a Researcher at the Westminster think tank Reform. She is passionate about the potential of technology to change people's lives for the better, and working with the tech industry, the public sector and citizens to achieve this.
Emilie holds a master's degree in Philosophy and Public Policy from LSE. In her spare time she is currently trying to learn Persian and improve her table tennis skills.
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Katherine joined techUK in May 2018 and currently leads the Data Analytics, AI and Digital ID programme.
Prior to techUK, Katherine worked as a Policy Advisor at the Government Digital Service (GDS) supporting the digital transformation of UK Government.
Whilst working at the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) Katherine led AMRC’s policy work on patient data, consent and opt-out.
Katherine has a BSc degree in Biology from the University of Nottingham.
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