The Ethics of Technology: Addressing the Social Implications of Innovation
As technology continues to advance at an unprecedented rate, it is crucial to address the ethical and social implications of these innovations. From AI-generated writing to gender equality in the digital age, responsible innovation involves considering the potential impacts and risks on various stakeholders.
Responsible Use of AI and Language Processing Tools
Organizations are increasingly providing guidelines for responsible usage of language processing tools such as ChatGPT. Medium, for example, has released a statement on AI-generated writing promoting transparency and disclosure. Institutions are also establishing FAQ pages about generative AI to encourage the wise and ethical use of AI and chatbots. However, the release of GPT-4, a more powerful language processing tool, raises concerns about disinformation and propaganda.
Corporate Responsibility and Grassroots Efforts
While tech professionals have a responsibility to uphold the public good as they innovate, support from superiors, ethics experts, and government regulation is necessary. Google has a responsible innovation team and has developed responsible AI principles, but its ethical profile beyond this is questionable. Grassroots efforts from employees may be necessary for responsible innovation to grow from the bottom up.
Gender Equality and Empowerment in the Digital Age
The Commission on the Status of Women is focused on the theme of “Innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.” Ministers and high-level Government officials emphasized the need to strengthen women and girls’ inclusion in innovation and technology, close the digital gender divide, and address digital violence. Countries like Sierra Leone, Pakistan, and Mozambique have made strides in gender equality, but accessibility to innovation and technological changes remains limited in many developing countries.
AI Solutions for Gender Equality Issues
Fujitsu and Ochanomizu University have established a joint research laboratory to develop AI solutions for gender equality issues. The laboratory will leverage Fujitsu’s AI ethics technology and Ochanomizu University’s knowledge in gendered innovations. The aim is to develop practical solutions to gender issues while addressing the risk of bias in AI. The two parties plan to nurture talent able to take the lead in solving societal issues by combining approaches from information science and social sciences.
Evaluating Controversial Innovations
Biochemist Jennifer Doudna, who won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for her work in genetic engineering, suggests asking six guiding questions to evaluate controversial innovations. These questions include determining which applications might be desirable or undesirable, who benefits or might be harmed by the innovation, how much control we have over the innovation, and whether the innovation aligns with our values and ethical principles. By considering these questions, we can better understand and address the social implications of innovation.