How to keep digital systems from running away with our civilisation
In April of 2018, leaders from a dozen large players in the digital economy, four universities, one Indian Tribal Nation, the U.S. government and several large not-for-profit organisations gathered to craft a digital ethics “Declaration of Independence and Constitution.” The participants in this “digital ethics summit” were technology executives, professors, HR leaders, graduate students, diplomats, writers and consultants.
Among those participants were Peter Temes, president of the Institute for Innovation in Large Organisations (ILO), and Florin Rotar, a senior executive leader at Avanade. In their new book, titled “We the People,” Temes and Rotar set forth the framework of ideas behind this groundbreaking effort and share the working drafts of the key documents that came out of the summit. They take on what will become the most pressing issue of our age: how to keep digital systems from running away with our civilisation.
“This book couldn't be more timely and relevant. In the age of ‘big data’ where so much is measurable, Peter and Florin provide an essential framework.”
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The importance of the digital ethics conversation
Humans make most ethical decisions quickly based on gut feelings that reflect values we often don’t even know we have. Yet now we must know, so we can tell digital systems how to make these tough choices. We need to talk about ethics, across our civilisation, right now, to make sure that we “code in” what we really believe about these tough choices.
“We the People” provides food for thought – and action – to expand the conversation on digital ethics. Topics covered include:
- From instance-based ethics to principle-based ethics
- The future of work – and the question of whether people will become obsolete
- Getting privacy right
- Avoiding the pitfalls of algorithmic cruelty and biases
- Who owns what in a digital age?
- The digital revolution and the American civil rights movement
- Tools to help start and spread that conversation in practical, useful ways