Deloitte Survey: Nearly 90% of Respondents Lack Ethical Guidelines When Designing and Using Emerging Technologies has been saved
Deloitte Survey: Nearly 90% of Respondents Lack Ethical Guidelines When Designing and Using Emerging Technologies
New Deloitte report offers varying perspectives on the attention — or lack thereof —on the role of ethical principles in technology
NEW YORK, Dec. 13, 2022 — A Deloitte study on trust and ethics in technology reveals that while business leaders are aggressively moving forward on implementing and using emerging technologies, with the exception of AI/cognitive technologies, nearly 90% of those surveyed lack a framework to support the implementation of ethical principles to guide its development and use.
The findings come from “State of Ethics and Trust in Technology,” a new study to be conducted annually by Deloitte’s Technology Trust Ethics practice. The practice is part of Deloitte’s US Purpose Office and focuses on embedding technology with ethical decision-making to foster building trust in technology and expanding equitable opportunities of a tech-savvy world to all people. The inaugural report surveyed nearly 1,800 business professionals to assess if and how ethical standards are being applied to emerging technology — defined as cognitive technologies/AI, ambient experiences, quantum computing, augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR), distributed ledger technology, autonomous vehicles or robotics.
Emerging technologies perceived to have the greatest ethical implications
Survey respondents were asked to weigh in on which emerging technologies presented both the most potential for social harm, as well as social good. Those areas perceived as having the highest ethical risk were cognitive technologies (41%), digital reality (16%), and distributed ledger technology (13%). Emerging technologies seen as having the most potential for social good were also cognitive technologies (33%), AR/VR (14%) and autonomous vehicles (11%).
“Emerging technologies present tremendous opportunity to improve the lives of individuals and create a more equitable society,” said Kwasi Mitchell, chief purpose officer at Deloitte and the report’s co-author. “By prioritizing ethical standards, organizations can be better positioned to harness the social good created by these new technologies.”
In the survey, respondents ranked seven principles for ethical technology by their relative importance in their organizations and to themselves as individuals. Safety and security ranked as the most important factor, followed by privacy, for both individuals and their organizations.
Building ethical practices across and outside business
Nearly two-thirds (64%) of those surveyed share leading practices across the organization to identify potential ethical issues. However, less than half that number (31%) partner with other commercial organizations to review ethical concerns of emerging tech. And, although only 22% partner with governmental organizations to do the same, 61% of respondents said they believe the government should play a larger role in setting ethical emerging technology standards.
“Organizations that ignore or downplay the ethical issues associated with developing and using emerging technologies risk multiple forms of legal, reputational and organizational damage that can erode profitability and trust,” said Beena Ammanath, managing director, Deloitte Consulting LLP, U.S. leader of Deloitte’s technology trust ethics practice and the report’s co-author. “However, collaboration across business leadership and beyond demonstrates the high potential for creating such a framework and utilizing these technologies for societal good.”
Deloitte developed a new Technology Trust Ethics framework to help organizations determine the ethical implications of emerging tech and as a guide to responsible decision-making in its design, operation and governance.
Deloitte’s research included interviews with 19 executives and surveys of nearly 1,800 business and technical professionals involved in developing, consuming or managing emerging technologies. Respondents came from industry sectors including technology, media and telecommunications; financial services; life sciences and health care; consumer; energy; academia; government and public service; and nonprofit. This survey addressed types of emerging technology being leveraged, ethical standards being applied when building and using technology, and approaches to codifying these ethical principles across the organization.
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