Responsible Use of Technology

The challenge 

The pervasive use of technology is triggering a spirited debate over how new technologies should be managed and governed. As governments struggle 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.


The opportunity 

Many companies in the technology industry 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, 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 from informal peer groups convened by the World Economic Forum over the past year to share experiences and best practices. These “ethics executives” have 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. Through the Responsible Use of Technology initiative, companies can benefit from collaboration instead of building these tools by themselves.

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