The pervasive use of technology is triggering a spirited debate on how new technologies should be managed and governed. As government struggles to keep up with the unprecedented speed and scale of technological change, companies are facing a crisis of trust amid the growing “techlash” and are increasingly being called on to self‑regulate the technology they are developing and deploying. This important challenge requires the engagement of stakeholders across the whole technology value chain, from the initial design to the sale of technology and its ultimate end use. Additional urgency is driven by the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic on society and the increased need to responsibly use potentially life-saving technology.
In workshops, meetings and conversations convened by the World Economic Forum over the past year, leaders across the technology industry have expressed that their companies lack even a basic framework for grappling with how their products are designed and whom they should be sold to – and, in absence of a systematic approach, many of them are defaulting to reactive one‑off decisions. An urgent need exists for practical guides, based on proven models, that companies anywhere in the world can use to ensure that ethical considerations are integrated into company culture and processes.
Those in charge of ethics at diverse organizations, many of whom are in new positions, have benefited greatly from informal peer groups convened by the World Economic Forum over the past year to share experiences and best practices. These “ethics executives” have expressed interest in expanding and deepening these interactions. They have also identified specific tools that would better enable them to do their jobs, such as evaluation schema, training curricula, organizational models and assessment frameworks – to be created through consultation with practitioners from business, government and civil society, and based on learnings from approaches piloted within companies today. Many companies would benefit from collaboration instead of building these tools by themselves.
Collaborate & Co-Design
To get involved or learn more about the Responsible Use of Technology initiative, contact Emily Ratté at firstname.lastname@example.org.