- More than 4 in 5 companies lack specific ethical principles for designing and using emerging technologies, with the exception of cognitive technologies such as AI, ML and neural nets, according to a Deloitte report published Tuesday.
- Business leaders believe cognitive technologies and digital reality have the most potential for social good, but they also believe these technologies hold the most potential for serious ethical risk, according to the report.
- While the majority — 4 in 5 — of organizations have a technology review board, only half of those with a review board assess ethical standards for in-production or existing technologies, according to the report, which surveyed 1,800 business and technical leaders.
Emerging technologies can strengthen business operations, expand capabilities and create new revenue streams. It’s no surprise enterprises are continuing to increase their appetite.
Nearly two-thirds of IT pros say their organizations plan to increase spending on emerging technologies over the next year, according to Forrester data.
Emerging technologies have even reached the board of directors; more than half of companies say their board is now among key decision-makers guiding investments in emerging tech, according to Gartner.
But without proper guidelines and oversight, businesses could experience employee turnover or legal, monetary and image damage.
“To be blunt, failure to consider ethics when designing emerging technologies is bad design,” Grace Trinidad, research director of IDC’s Future of Trust, said in an email.
Even with proper guidelines in place, unethical use cases or fallout can still occur, according to Trinidad. In these instances, Trinidad suggested businesses continue to adhere to principles such as competence, transparency, fidelity and integrity when addressing unintended consequences.
While businesses are more likely to have ethical principles for AI than other emerging technologies, according to the report, ethical principles are not necessarily one-size-fits-all.
A blanket set of ethical considerations would not adequately address the nuances of differing capabilities, according to Trinidad. Companies that apply ethical frameworks designed for AI to other emerging technologies could potentially cause harm.