In Focus

Webinar recommendation – “Digital Ethics: When Saying Sorry Is Not Enough”

This is a recommendation of the “Digital Ethics: When Saying Sorry Is Not Enough” webinar hosted by Frank Buytendijk (VP Distinguished Analyst).

If you’ve ever heard any of Mr. Buytendijk’s presentations, you know already know this webinar is worth listening to. The topic itself is critical in the digital era but the thought-provoking way it is presented makes you want to learn more and more.

Mr. Buytendijk starts his presentation with a little exercise: he uses the Q&A section reversed, which means he has the questions and asks the audience to answer them. He touches different areas within the digital ethics topic, such as “How do you feel about the future (like robots taking over and the end of humanity)?” “Are you concerened? If yes, why?”, “Are you optimistic and see technological innovation all wonderful?” After his questions some very interesting answers arrived.

In the first part of the webinar Frank Buytendijk talks about both the positive and the negative approach in terms of technological innovation and artificial intelligence. He reveals statistics on how this is in reality, what the situation is currently in different companies. These statistics show the percentage of those who have already faced ethical questions, mainly regarding privacy and security. It also points out that there are many companies that are concerned but say there is no place to go.

The key issues in this webinar are:

  • What are some worst practices and what can we learn from them?
  • How can you prevent crossing the creepy line (even by mistake) and do the right thing?
  • What hope do we have for the future?

Regarding the “creepy line” Mr. Buytendijk starts with another little assignment. He asks attendees to think of how they feel about questions he lists. He starts with very neutral ones such as “How old are you?”, “Where do you live?” and then goes into some deeper ones, admitting that even he, the one asking those feels uncomfortable. Then he reveals that these are answers that Facebook already knows with prediction accuracy (%) of classification by analyzing “Likes”. Well, this does start to sound creepy.

He also point out that digital ethics is not a hot topic regarding only internet-related companies. It is a hot topic everywhere. It is also important to realize that the digital ethics issues we encounter are surprisingly culturally independent, so these do not depend on which country we live in: you can find the same cases everywhere.

What Gartner found in the case studies is that when organizations crossed the “creepy line” it was always unintentional. The question of ethics is not whether you’re in compliance with law or not. In the end an ethical debate is about what you as a company or person stand for. Businesses are being judged through moral lenses. It is not optional to discuss whether you are running business morally. It is absolutely mandatory!

After showing the 4 stages of moral development applied in business terms, Mr. Buytendijk presents case studies. And to top it all, he does this in an interactive way, asking the webinar attendees to vote and express their feelings about the cases.

If you missed this webinar, don’t forget to listen to it at you own pace, any time. It is free and the presentation can be downloaded.

Gartner clients can read the following reports:

Kick-Start the Conversation on Digital Ethics

Digital Businesses Need to Understand the Creepy Line From Peoples’ Perspective

Are Your Algorithms Ethical? Look to Examples of Dynamic Pricing for Guidance

Fore more webinars visit Gartner Webinars website.

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