Ethics in the News – Technology, Politics, Clinical Trials, and More

Ethics in the Workplace 

Why All Companies Must Explore the Role of Ethics in Technology

For most modern businesses, technology is the engine of transformative change, driving companies toward profit. No longer just inherent to explicitly tech-based conglomerates, tech fuels everything from banks and financial services to food-delivery services and traditional retail as it facilitates the rapid migration online to meet the needs of a world spending more time at home than ever before. With this widespread adoption of technology to facilitate goods and services, the role of ethics has become increasingly prominent in the minds of both the consumers interacting with technology and the executives designing and implementing it. The savviest companies must learn to understand and embrace the nuances at the intersection between technology and human values as a fundamental building block of their digital transformation.

The Value of Strong Workplace Ethics

Workplace ethics refers to the way employees in an organization govern themselves and their overall work attitude, but it can also refer to the morality, or lack thereof, permeating a workplace. The way a company operates and is perceived by both the public and competitors often comes down to the workplace ethics. A truly ethical workplace should model ethical behavior from the top down, and from the inside out. Workplace ethics are reflected in how organizations treat their suppliers and customers, how they interact with others, how they perform their tasks, and how they communicate both internally and externally. 

Technology and Business

The Ethics of Smart Devices That Analyze How We Speak

As smart assistants and voice interfaces become more common, we’re giving away a new form of personal data — our speech. This goes far beyond just the words we say out loud. Speech lies at the heart of our social interactions, and we unwittingly reveal much about ourselves when we talk. When someone hears a voice, they immediately start picking up on accent and intonation and make assumptions about the speaker’s age, education, personality, etc. But what happens when machines start analyzing how we talk? The big tech firms are coy about exactly what they are planning to detect in our voices and why, but Amazon has a patent that lists a range of traits they might collect, including identity (“gender, age, ethnic origin, etc.”), health (“sore throat, sickness, etc.”), and feelings, (“happy, sad, tired, sleepy, excited, etc.”). This is worrisome, because algorithms are imperfect. And voice is particularly difficult to analyze because the signals we give off are inconsistent and ambiguous. What’s more, the inferences that even humans make are distorted by stereotypes. In business, we’ve gotten used to being careful about what we write in emails, in case information goes astray. We need to develop a similar wary attitude to having sensitive conversations close to connected devices. The only truly safe device to talk in front of is one that is turned off.

Ethical Challenges of Virtual and Augmented Reality

As useful as AR can be for humanity, there are a considerable number of ethical challenges faced by developers, researchers, and marketers in terms of creating, deploying and using AR technology. The main ethical challenges in terms of AR implementation include facial recognition and anonymity, mental and social side effects, unrealistic expectations, reality distortion, and manipulation.

Politics

The Political and Ethical Problems of 5G Internet

If we have an internet network capable of being always on, we have the potential to have entire societies built into “the cloud” so to speak — to the extent that almost every device, object, surface, building, location is able to collect data and offer internet-based services and resources. Of course, the political ramifications of such a fully connected world are huge. Not least of all, data storage and privacy.

CREW to Pursue Disqualification if Trump Runs

Should Donald Trump seek reelection to the presidency or any other office, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington will pursue his disqualification under the Fourteenth Amendment for engaging in the January 6th insurrection

Unavoidable Ethical Dilemmas for Candidates

Public trust in government is at a low reminiscent of the Watergate Era. The purpose of our political process is to create an informed electorate. Ethical campaigns should further this goal, and not serve to weaken our democratic institutions by decreasing trust. Accordingly, ethical campaigns require honesty, fairness, transparency, substance, and independence. Political candidates encounter many ethical dilemmas when running for office. 

Research and Healthcare

The Big Ethical Issues Clinical Genomics Needs to Solve

For all its potential to detect rare and inherited conditions and guide effective treatments, clinical genomics is still a relatively young domain with unresolved ethical issues. A recent webinar explored the most pressing of these for physicians, including the ones having to do with standard of care.

The Ethical Implications of Clinical Trials in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

Medical research has long been performed on human volunteers who risk their own well-being for society’s greater good. Safeguarding human rights and upholding ethical standards are fundamental to sound medical research. The globalization of science and medicine relocated clinical trials offshore to low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). Because these communities may otherwise have little to no access to this level of care, are researchers providing a public health benefit or are they exploiting economically disadvantaged communities to serve more affluent ones abroad? Some question whether experimentation is ethical altogether.

Five Ethical Concerns with 3D Printing in Medicine

No doubt 3D printing is catching up in every niche including medicine to offer innovative solutions that weren’t possible otherwise. There have been huge developments already for making technology human-friendly. For instance, we now can print prosthetics at a much lower price and also can customize it to almost every shape and size. However, are we not ignoring the ethical concerns that come along with 3D printing in medicine? Are we actually stressing on how things would shape once the technology will overtake most of the stake of the medical niche? We are far behind that league. Although doctors and researchers are paying attention to the subject, a little, it’s not enough. The government has already started weighing the good and bad by trying to regulate the workflow connected with 3D printing in medicine. But what entails ahead is still a paradox.

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