Think of this question: what should a self-driving car do when it needs to choose between hurting the passenger and hurting the pedestrian? This poses a familiar ethical dilemma. However, these dilemmas are not just limited to autonomous vehicles. With the advancement of a Fourth Industrial Revolution, the innovations are spreading at an unprecedented rate, impacting more and more industries.
If you happen to be a business leader, it is possible that you will also need to find ways to maintain a winning and ethical focus as business models change around you. So, how do you reap the benefits of these technological advancements while also navigating the new dilemmas they create? Here are a couple of ways to address the ethical dilemmas in this age of Artificial Intelligence.
With the new wave of globalization disrupting business, global and national governance structures are failing to keep up. Past precedent had provided numerous examples of the harm of unregulated business transformation from which we can learn from. For example, the nationalization of the food industry at the turn the 20th Century led to many health and safety concerns causing the creation of the FDA. There was also the irrational exuberance and lack of integrity in the finance industry during the 1920s leading to the creation of the SEC in the 1930s. So, even though these technological advances are positive, it is important for business leaders to govern themselves to avoid stakeholder harm as the government looks to catch up.
It is important that we look to capture the rapidly increasing data flow of this new industrial revolution if we want to make better business decisions. One of our responses has been the Sustainable Business Monitor which is a leadership tool that shows leaders the impact of their business based on 450 data points looking at sustainability, governance, citizenship, and long-term financial performance. Since the start of 2017, the Forum, Refinitiv, along with a group of partners have been collaborating to utilize this tool to move away from the simple belief in responsible business to a more insightful analysis of business impact driven by hard data.