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Technology

Digital ethics for a successful digital transformation

The need for ethics

The massive digitalization we’ve seen over the last year is merely a response to COVID-19 that has sped up the adoption of technology by several years, and this change could be here for the long haul. 

 

Software companies are facing unprecedented challenges these days and on a global scale. To respond to current market demand and survive in the face of the near future digital economy, they have begun to reinvent their offerings to meet customer expectations becoming active participants in the digital revolution.  While embracing digital transformation allows a company to compete better in an economic environment that is constantly changing in response to technology evolutions, it can also be challenging to choose a relevant approach.  Besides innovation that can be driven through digital services and disruptive technologies such as cloud computing, robotics, AI, and big data, it’s important to remember that the human dimension is just as important

 

 

In a digital world, acting ethically became a crucial differentiator in a highly competitive market where reputation and values are as important as products and services.

 

What we stand for and how we behave represents the fundamental concepts of ethics. As part of their digital transformation efforts, organizations need to act responsibly and promote the ethical use of technology.

How can organizations respond?

Rule #1: Integrate ethics in the organization’s strategy

 
When adopting new tech, a first step should be putting clear boundaries around your technology and processes to achieve maximum efficiency while minimizing the potential for harm.

You should ensure that your machines reflect human-centered design, meaning they share your worldview and ethical principles. This is especially important when you introduce powerful AI tools that can act in unpredictable ways.

The better you get at defining goals for AI, the better you can understand what kinds of protection you need and how to avoid releasing AI products that create socially undesirable outcomes.

As a leader, you can also create organizational roles to help ensure that AI is deployed in ways that benefit commercially and socially. For example, an organization can institute an ethics board or appoint a chief ethics officer whose job is to identify potential harm and bias in products and oversee transformation efforts to guide technologies in beneficial ways.

 

Rule #2: Promote an ethical culture

 

Organizational culture can be described as the collection of values, beliefs, expectations, and practices that guide and inform the actions of all team members. Values are vital as they articulate what the organization stands for, such as ‘providing an excellent digital experience’ or ‘excellence through innovation and teamwork.

Digital organizations have a moral responsibility to safeguard their employees from taking unnecessary risks that could ultimately damage both the individual and the organization. They can achieve this by training employees on industry-leading practices, such as integrating principles of fairness, ethics, and safety through the product or service life cycle, and encouraging desirable behaviors through solid support from the top and supporting performance management systems.

 

 

Rule #3: Promote trust

 

The digital services must be trustable by their data consumers, whether they are individuals, groups, or organizations, which is the essence of digital ethics.

Digital ethics have a broader scope than General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) introduced in 2018 for Europe. It is also illustrated by the ‘Ethics Guidelines for Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence’ published by the European Commission in 2019 and ‘Ethical Principles for Artificial Intelligence’ released by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) in February, 2020. These guidelines identify the ethical principles and associated values to be respected in developing, implementing, and using AI systems.

Organizations using AI tools that harvest enormous volumes of data about users are responsible for protecting the privacy of customers and employees. To avoid facing high levels of ethical risk, these organizations should practice transparency, acknowledging the core principles of privacy, security, and integrity. That means they have to be committed to building a culture of trust in AI, sensitive to biases hidden in data, and work tirelessly to ensure their AI is fair.

Don’t Leave “Ethical Tech” Out of Your Digital Transformation Plan

Competitive organizations want to become smarter, more agile, more flexible, and more responsive. That’s why they take advantage of the significant opportunities that disruptive technologies can bring. Being successful in their digital transformation isn’t enough. They have to pay attention to digital ethics and make it an inseparable part of their business operations.

Are You Ready to Make Ethical Decisions During the Digital Transformation Process?

If so, you need a trustable tech partner. We are proud to be listed in the Top Custom Software Development Companies. Our team of experts is here to guide you through your digital transformation process and help you make decisions that are above reproach by acting responsibly and promoting the ethical use of technology.
At Liftup, we see a relationship between a company’s tech-savviness and its focus on various ethical issues related to technology. We believe in digital initiatives for clear policies that support ethical standards. The explosive adoption of digital solutions and increase in innovation shouldn’t be allowed at the expense of ethical considerations.

 

Author

Anamaria Bodog

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