The role of the Tech Ethicist in business and IT

ethics

#1

What is a tech ethicist?

David Polgar makes a fundamental distinction between how a tech ethicist views technology to how an engineer does. “They typically see a societal problem that they try to craft a solution to,” says Polgar. “Whereas, a tech ethicist sees the solution that was created, and finds the problems with that.”

Is ethical tech a growth area?

"I would not be surprised if it’s a major growing field in the next five years.”, says Polga.
He also says that one of the reasons big tech is (at least appearing) to take a more active interest in these issues, is partly because tech creators are becoming more thoughtful about their inventions and their legacies.

Is attention to the ethics of doing business becoming more important in your company, or does it even has a tech ethicist position already?

What is your opinion about ethics in technology? How do you take ethics into account? Would you like to be an ethicist?

Share your experiences…


#2

This morning I saw Mozilla’s assertion “With great code comes great responsibility,” the teaser for its announcement of a competition focusing on ethics in computer science.

https://blog.mozilla.org/blog/2018/10/10/announcing-a-competition-for-ethics-in-computer-science-with-up-to-3-5-million-in-prizes/

Here is a quote from the announcement

Says Paula Goldman, Global Lead of the Tech and Society Solutions Lab at Omidyar Network: “To ensure technology fulfills its potential as a positive force in the world, we are supporting the growth of a tech movement that is guided by the emerging mantra to move purposefully and fix things. Treating ethical reflection and discernment as an opt-in sends the wrong message to computer science students: that ethical thinking can be an ancillary exploration or an afterthought, that it’s not part and parcel of making code in the first place. Our hope is that this effort helps ensure that the next generation of tech leaders is deeply connected to the societal implications of the products they build.”

@tristanh and David Polgar may be few in number now, but let’s hope the nurturing of tech ethicism will take root and help us build a better future.