Quantum Computing and Other Disruptive Technologies Need Governance from An Ethical Perspective

Responsible Use of Technology

In brief…

+  The increasingly pervasive use of technology in our everyday lives has triggered a spirited debate on how new and disruptive technologies—such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, internet of things (IoT), 5G, blockchain, quantum computing, autonomous vehicles, biotechnology, and nanotechnology—should be managed and governed.

“Ethics and human rights approaches should not be thought of as oppositional but rather as two synergistic approaches for the responsible use of technology—a human rights-based approach provides a universal foundation upon which various ethical frameworks, choices, and judgments can be applied.”

+  There are also courses of action to prevent or mitigate adverse human rights impacts that exist across the entire value chain.

  • Companies can engage in proactive transparency to increase collective awareness of how a technology works with the aim of informing better decisions by others, such as users, governments, and partners.
  • Companies can advocate for standards, policies, laws, and regulations from governments at all levels that define how technology should or should not be used.
  • Companies can engage with a diverse range of stakeholders and deploy strategic foresight and futures methodologies (such as scenario planning) to anticipate adverse impacts that might otherwise go unnoticed.

+  It is noteworthy that all these suggested measures have their shortcomings. A vendor may establish acceptable use policies—on data privacy, for example—but not have the insight necessary to enforce them effectively. There may be circumstances where society doesn’t want companies to be deeply engaged with deciding who they do and don’t sell products to, such as communications infrastructure that enables freedom of expression. And there may be situations when transparency heightens the risks faced by vulnerable groups. These shortcomings emphasize the importance of taking system-wide approaches to the responsible use of disruptive technology and not relying on the actions of a single company or government alone to affect change.

Source:  BSR.  Hannah Darnton and Dunstan Allison-Hope,  Responsible Use of Technology…

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