Business Ethics With Application of Emergent Technologies

ReturnedSword

Active Member
Jun 15, 2018
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Santa Monica, CA
With the advent of emergent technologies such as artificial intelligence, augmented reality, machine learning, etc., there's been a big debate across the industry about the morality and ethics of its application. Of course, these technologies have existed in nascent form for years, but it's only recently that the technology has somewhat caught up with the concepts to where it can start being applied.

We can see employees start to "revolt" with open letters, and in some cases, quitting. Here's a few examples:
What are some thoughts from other tech professionals about employee activism regarding ethics? Please keep personal politics out of this discussion and let's be civil.

Personally, I feel that employees who are "revolting" need to put their money where they mouth is; i.e. vote by quitting if they are ethically opposed to certain work that they are doing. As we are aware, our employment contracts generally stipulate that our work done on company time and dime basically is owned by the company; we don't really have a say on how it's utilized. I have been ethically opposed to business decisions in my prior work (an example is work I did for a large, now defunct mortgage lender during the Wild West days of subprime lending), and I always voted by quitting because I felt that it was shady and would hurt the customers. It did hurt the customers, and in fact more than a few of my former colleagues/managers went to jail for it.
 

Evan

Well-Known Member
Jan 6, 2016
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I work for a large multinational company who I am proud to say while selling products and technology in a small way that can be used for police forces are even day to day military for example has an absolute stance that they will not be involved in any actual weapons and certainly nothing that is to the detriment to life on this planet.

I absolutely say if an employee feels it’s not right they have a choice, ask to work on a different project, leave the company if feeling especially strongly, influence change inside the company, or accept it. (Of course keeping in mind it’s a company right to decide in what space they want to play in and an employee should also respect this and act appropriately)
 

Dawg10

Associate
Dec 24, 2016
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China doesn't seem to have any problems with ethics.

Western workers need to understand their "principles" are common bullshit in the bigger picture.
 

ReturnedSword

Active Member
Jun 15, 2018
200
48
28
Santa Monica, CA
Yes, exactly my thoughts @Evan.

I think that once employees start doing things like open letters, it crosses a boundary. These aren't whistle-blowing situations where a company is acting in an illegal manner according to the current laws. While I in no way advocate for the line of thinking that employees should "shut up and put up," they certainly can do the things you've mentioned. I'm just baffled how these employees think they can publicly speak out about these issues and expect to keep their jobs (and if they are able to keep their job, not get pigeon holed).