How do we build an ethical framework for the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

ICT ITU 2018

How ICT infrastructure is crucial to achieving the SDGs in the era of the fourth industrial revolution – ITU News (ITU, 2018)

This article is brought to you thanks to the strategic cooperation of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Hilary Sutcliffe, Director, SocietyInside & Anne-Marie Allgrove, Head, Global Information Technology and Communications Industry, Baker McKenzie


The technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution are transforming society and reshaping our future.

While these technologies offer extraordinary opportunities, they pose a number of challenges including, for example, impacts on the workforce with advances in artificial intelligence, strains on privacy and freedom of expression, what limits – if any – should be placed on genetic technologies, and increasing economic and social disparity between the owners of capital and others.

As a result, there is a need for clearer articulation of ethical frameworks, normative standards and values-based governance models to help guide organizations in the development and use of these powerful tools in society, and to enable a human-centric approach to development that goes beyond geographic and political boundaries.

Human dignity, common good and stewardship

The 2016 report from the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Values and the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Connecting the Dots Between Values, Profit and Purpose, articulates three universal values: human dignity, common good and stewardship. In its 2014 work on the creation of a social covenant, the Council included the need for “agreement on basic universal values and ethics; consensus on the need to reflect these values in a country’s legislation and regulation and international economic agreements”.

Human rights are the “hard edge” of values and the international human rights frameworks provide a substantive basis for tackling these issues.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), adopted in 1948 and signed by an unprecedented 192 countries, embraces a universal set of principles that can be applied across variable cultures.

The UDHR was adopted by the United Nations at a time when the world was reeling from the discovery of the full horror of the Holocaust, and there was a global desire to create a new more hopeful future for humanity. It was designed, first and foremost, as an expression of global values, as observed by Hernán Santa Cruz of Chile, member of the drafting sub-committee:

“I perceived clearly that I was participating in a truly significant historic event in which a consensus had been reached as to the supreme value of the human person, a value that did not originate in the decision of a worldly power, but rather in the fact of existing.”

Equality, fairness and justice

The UDHR set out universal standards which have supported, to date, efforts by states and others to develop laws and policies relating to a range of issues, from criminal justice to the environment, from global development to trade, from security to migration.

The UDHR and the series of legally binding treaties that have elaborated on its provisions provide an essential foundation for private and international organizations and states to promote equality, fairness and justice in a people- and planet-centered innovation agenda, driven by new and enhanced technologies.

Though these global rights standards were adopted by states to govern official conduct, increasingly they are being applied to the private sector. For example global companies seeking to address labour rights issues in their global supply chains, or information and communications companies grappling with privacy and free expression issues, are being called on to address these concerns using a rights framework. Similarly, though the technology of gene-editing is startlingly new and exciting, human rights standards can help us address the governance choices we face as we balance efforts to alleviate human suffering, and the risks and uncertainties inherent in the application of new scientific tools.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution needs to be grounded in a discussion of broader questions about the societies in which we wish to live. Today, the possibilities for human empowerment brought by technology are immense, but we must continue to focus on the impact of technologies on people, their everyday lives and their enjoyment of human rights.

No longer is this exclusively the domain of states and international organizations. The private sector must take a leadership role. As a starting point, private organizations and their stakeholders should review their values as against the UDHR and related human rights standards and develop mechanisms against which they can measure and assess their conduct.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Commission goes less than mid-way on expensive euro

A Sting Exclusive: “Paris is indeed our best bet for a secure climate future”, EU Commissioner for Environment Karmenu Vella cries out from Brussels

GSMA Announces Speakers for Mobile 360 – Russia & CIS 2018

What makes Copenhagen the world’s most bike-friendly city?

How trade tariffs could help combat climate change

Why Europe’s high productive performance is discredited?

Libya: Thousands seek shelter in health clinics from Tripoli fighting, UN warns

Pedro Sánchez: We must protect Europe, so Europe can protect its citizens

Basel III rules relaxed: Banks got it all but become more prone to crisis

A Sting Exclusive: “Sustainable development goals: what role for business?” Commissioner Mimica asks live from European Business Summit 2015

Drawing scenarios for drifting Britain; elections or May’s deadlock?

UN chief welcomes establishment of inclusive government in Central African Republic

High unemployment to continue haunting the EU

Fragile countries risk being ‘stuck in a cycle of conflict and climate disaster,’ Security Council told

We need a new Operating System for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

A Sting Exclusive: “Climate change-the biggest global health threat of the 21st century, yet overlooked in climate negotiations?” IFMSA wonders from COP21 in Paris

Countries should focus on labour market policies to help refugees and improve coordinated actions to tackle illegal immigration

Spotlight Initiative – EU and UN fight against domestic violence in the Pacific region

Parliament backs new CO2 emissions limits for cars and vans

Dieselgate: Parliament calls for mandatory retrofits of polluting cars

Where is heading Putin’s Russia?

This heroic doctor is waging war on rape and the stigma around it

EU confronts environmental threats as global leaders attempt to revive the global sentiment at NYC climate week

Can Eurozone stand economic and financial fragmentation?

UN experts warn Assange arrest exposes him to risk of serious human rights violations

3 reasons why AI won’t replace human translators… yet

What options the new President of Ukraine has?

Parliament demands ban on neo-fascist and neo-Nazi groups in the EU

“Working together to make a change at the COP 21 in Paris”, an article by Ambassador Yang of the Chinese Mission to EU

UN agencies urge Brunei to repeal new ‘extreme and unjustified’ penal code

Disaster Medicine in Medical Education: the investment you just can´t afford to ignore

Smart cities must pay more attention to the people who live in them

Five ways to increase trust in e-commerce

Nuclear test ban treaty critical to global collective security – UN chief

‘Bring to life’ precious moments caught on film or tape, UN agency urges on World Day

Lessons from the Global Entrepreneurship Index

“We always honor our words, and in that respect we expect our partners to honor their words as well”, China’s State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi highlights live from Brussels

New seat projections for the next European Parliament

5 key themes for reforming the EU, as elections loom

Mali not fulfilling its ‘sovereign role’ in protecting its people: UN human rights expert

Backed by UN agency, countries set to take on deadly livestock-killing disease

Health Committee MEPs back plans to boost joint assessment of medicines

TTIP 9th Round marked by American disappointment: Will some optimism save this trade agreement?

Eurozone: The crisis hit countries are again subsidizing the German and French banks

EU Parliament and Council: Close to agreement on the bank resolution mechanism

Joris in Indonesia

Banks can fight financial crime. But we can’t do it alone

This woman solved one of the biggest problems facing green energy

Employers’ organizations work towards improving the enabling environment for sustainable enterprises

How to build a paradise for women. A lesson from Iceland

The 5 biggest challenges cities will face in the future

Amid troop build-up in Rohingya’s home state, UN appeals to Myanmar for peaceful solution

Volkswagen getting away with it in Europe

How India is harnessing technology to lead the Fourth Industrial Revolution

The sad plight of fledging doctors

Why youth unemployment is so difficult to counter

EU-US trade deal: Europe to Americanize its social model?

Explained, the economic ties between Europe and Asia

A Sting Exclusive: “Junior Enterprises themselves carry out projects focusing on the environment”, JADE President Daniela Runchi highlights from Brussels

The Sting’s Mission

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s