Who should get to decide what’s ethical as technology advances?


Who should get to decide what’s ethical as technology advances?

Technology is ripe with ethical dilemmas. New tech usually comes with more power and more advanced capabilities; we might be able to reshape the world in new, innovative ways, or we might expose the human mind to conditions it’s never experienced before.

Obviously, this opens the door to ethical challenges, such as determining whether it’s right to edit the human genome or programming self-driving cars to behave in ways aligned with our morals.

I could write an article with thousands of ethical questions we still have to answer, covering artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), medical breakthroughs, and the internet of things (IoT). But there’s one bigger question that affects all the others, and we aren’t spending enough time to address it: who gets to decide the answers to these questions?

The high-level challenges

There are some high-level challenges we have to consider here:

1. Balancing ethics and innovation. Our legislative process is intentionally slow, designed to ensure that each new law is considered carefully before it’s passed. Similarly, it often takes years—if not decades—of scientific research to fully understand a topic. If every tech company waited for scientists and regulators to make an ethical decision, innovation would come to a halt, so we have to find a way to balance speed and thoroughness.

2. Keeping power balanced. We also need to be careful not to tip the scales of power. If one class of people, or one country, gets access to an extremely powerful or advanced technology, it could result in inhumane levels of inequality, or war. If one authority is allowed to make all ethical decisions about tech, those decisions could unfairly work in its favor, at the expense of everyone else involved.

3. Making educated decisions. Ethics are subjective, but shouldn’t be based on a gut reaction, or our feelings on a given subject. They should be exhaustively well-researched and understood before a decision is made; in other words, these decisions shouldn’t be made by someone uneducated in the matter, or by a non-expert.

4. Considering multiple areas. We also have to consider consequences in multiple areas. This isn’t just about safeguarding human life, but also human health, human psychology, and the wellbeing of our planet.

The options

So who could we consider to make ethical decisions for our technology?

Scientists. We could trust scientists, who by nature are objective truth-seekers. The problem is, research takes years to decades to complete, and even then, in-fighting could bring the process to a halt.

Inventors and entrepreneurs. We could trust the inventors and distributors of technology…

Follow Me

Peter Bordes

Exec Chairman & Founder at oneQube
Exec Chairman & Founder of oneQube the leading audience development automation platfrom. Entrepreneur, top 100 most influential angel investors in social media who loves digital innovation, social media marketing. Adventure travel and fishing junkie.
Follow Me

More from Around the Web

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news from our network of site partners.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest