As new digital technologies like 3D printing, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), biotechnology, and quantum technology continue to develop at unprecedented rates, significant social and ethical issues arise. Public sentiment has curtailed in recent years as revelations of Silicon Valley firms and online retailers collecting and sharing people’s data, social media platforms being gamed by bad actors spreading false information or sowing discord, and corporate algorithms using opaque metrics to favor some groups over others have emerged.
A key concern is that technology advances are creating a digital divide between those who have access to the latest devices and those who do not, due to factors such as socioeconomic status and geographical location. Additionally, the growing use of technology and reliance on non-renewable resources to power it are contributing to environmental concerns.
In addition, AI and automation are posing questions about the potential for the displacement of human workers in many industries. This raises questions about the responsibility of technology developers and governments to ensure that workers are trained for future jobs and given opportunities to retrain and advance in their current roles.
Other emerging technologies, such as blockchain, big data, and cybersecurity, are transforming the ways businesses operate, and the way the economy operates. These changes, and the impact that they have on people’s lives, require a clear understanding of the ethics and professional standards that should guide their development and implementation. Failure to do so could lead to negative consequences.