Reaching technoutopia through cyber ethics

Cyber Ethics: Humanity is living between technoutopia and technophobia. Technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI) drive daily human lives, and it is causing ethical dilemmas: is AI being used to protect human beings or can it harm them? How can we reduce the risks of military applications of AI and improve the cause of peace through global governance on AI and technology within an ethical framework? Are ethical considerations brought into play when decisions on the development and deployment of technology and AI are being made in an attempt to strike the balance between beneficial progress and actual and potential harm?

Globethics.net organised a workshop panel moderated by the Executive Director, Dr Obiora Ike, on ‘Cyber Ethics, Education and Security: Serving Humanity with Values to address some of these questions at the 10th World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in Geneva, Switzerland on the morning of 11 April 2019.

Humanity has to use technology and AI as a tool to teach decision making and critical thinking skills. Society has to make ethical use of technology and governments have to provide the correct frame for that to happen. It is interesting that, both when it comes to giving up personal freedom and privacy as well as environmental sustainability, the public tends to ‘stick their heads in the sand’ and is compliant with legal and commercial practices that are sometimes violating human rights or contributing to global warming. Moving from ‘money-driven’ to ‘ethics-driven’ investments in technology and AI as well as having a critical dialogue to discuss the impact of technology and AI innovation have on humans, and on the planet will move humanity from technophobia to technoutopia.

These were some of the conclusions reached by the six panellists from four continents representing business, academic, legal and NGO sectors speaking to a full room at the WSIS Forum 2019.

The workshop was based upon the issues raised by contributors to the book ‘Cyber Ethics 4.0: Serving Humanity with values‘ published by Globethics.net in 2018. Panellists addressed the topic from their particular perspectives, from the point of view of ethics, law, education and/or security. The workshop ended with a book launch and an open invitation to the participants present at the the workshop to contribute to the next volume on cyber ethics.

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