Gartner urges adoption of ethics in IT sector
by MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG – AN information technology expert has urged the industry to consider embracing digital ethics as the pace of technology change accelerated.
Frank Buytendijk, Research Vice President at Gartner, said digital business had dramatically shifted the impact of corporate IT and now affected people’s work and lives more directly and pervasively than ever before.
As such, he said, whenever technology innovation moved faster than society, business and people could organise around it, ethical questions arose.
“New technologies raise new ethical questions. How do we deal with the fact that big data can turn into Big Brother quickly? What happens to individuals? The Internet of Things is driving their behaviour as well as monitoring it?
“As smart machines start to interact with people, and represent people’s actions, how do we make sure those actions are ethically acceptable to us?” asked Buytendijk.
He said although consumers may use services and products willingly, and may have agreed to terms and conditions, they may not be aware of the unintended consequences of their use.
For example, he argued, there had also been discussion about the impact on how we communicate with our smartphone and ethically about what the absence of non-verbal feedback is doing to human interaction.
“While it is possible to do harm even when acting with good intentions, ignorance of ethical issues is unfortunately common.
“When ignorance is combined with a failure to consider the broader impacts of technology, there is danger,” said Mr Buytendijk.
He was speaking ahead of the Gartner Africa Symposium/ITxpo, said to be the world’s most important gathering of Chief Information Officerss and senior IT executives.
It is scheduled for Cape Town, South Africa on September 10-12.
– CAJ News
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