Bigger, faster, smarter, easier – are all ‘acceptable’ reasons why we adopt technology and change. Imagine a world with self-driving cars, self-managing farms, self-managing factories where human intervention is minimal? Do these advances in technology justify potential job losses? Do ethics and morals still feature in our decisions or is it a case of the end justifies the means?
Bias by default
Let’s begin with self-driving cars, a self-driving car is just a car with the ability to move from one point to another without any human intervention. In a perfect world, that will be it, but in the world we live in, these self-driving cars will have to make some decisions through their journeys.
The fact that these decisions are programmed into these cars by humans means that there is bias by default. Human involvement in any decision creates a form of bias and opens the proverbial door of how moral/ethical the outcome would be. The reason for this is that people often forget what exactly the technology is trying to solve. In the case of self-driving cars, the reasons could range from preventing drunk and fatigue driving, fatigue driving to solve the growing concern of under-age driving. Self-driving cars did not introduce the bias about who do you save in an accident situation, people have been making this biased decision since the beginning of cars.
To share or not to share
Another great example of ethics and morals entering decision making is data protection. Years ago, the concept of protecting data never existed. It was only after people realised the monetary value of data, that society realised that the privacy and data of people had to be protected.
While every individual is responsible for what information he/she decides to share on the Internet or on social media, the moral and ethical dilemma comes into play when one decides to share one’s private life on social media where all claims on privacy are in fact relinquished. Once again, people have forgotten what exactly social media is trying to solve. Is it to bridge the communication distance, increase the speed of transfer of news or messages?
The price of technology
Why do people need jobs? To earn money to pay for their expenses. But what if you didn’t have to pay for your expenses or have to pay just a little? That’s what technology is trying to create.
by Stephen Asiedu