Study reveals ethical implications of major technology trends

Thoughtworks, a global technology consulting firm that integrates strategy, design and engineering to drive digital innovation, this month launched Look Glass, an annual guide that reveals the critical technology-driven changes that will shape business in 2022 and beyond. Building on Thoughtworks’ approach to bringing the latest innovations to organizations before new technologies reach mass adoption, the report makes recommendations to technology market leaders on how best to compete and revolutionize themselves.

One trend that Looking Glass has highlighted is the metaverse, which promises endless possibilities for consumers and businesses to work, live, play and learn in this new medium enabled by extended reality (XR) technology. When XR, artificial intelligence (AI) and hardware are combined, there are many creative ways to harness human strengths and produce results that benefit society. However, it is important to keep in mind that these technologies change the user experience and that people represent themselves differently in virtual worlds, which can have ethical and moral implications.

“As human-machine interactions evolve and non-fungible digital assets become a reality using blockchain and non-fungible tokens (NFT), the physical and digital worlds converge and create endless opportunities for businesses and end consumers. The metaverse offers unlimited possibilities in this regard. Ways will inevitably emerge. new ones to work, learn, consume, play, socialize, and connect in this new, borderless ecosystem that is taking shape,” explains Renan Martins, Chief Technology Officer at Thoughtworks Brazil.

The five overall trends examined by Looking Glass this year are:

Evolution of the human and machine experience: By inevitably moving into the metaverse, the physical and digital worlds will converge further in a way that opens up new possibilities for business.

Artificial intelligence as a partner: Machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) continue to gain traction across industries. Rapid adoption has been observed in situations ranging from automating daily operational processes to increasing strategic decision making.

Accelerate to Sustainability: As consumers, governments, and investors demand greater environmental responsibility from businesses, the shift to sustainability is no longer an option but a business imperative.

The increasing impact of hostile technology: “Hostile” technology is commonly associated with criminal activities such as ransomware, breaking into systems to steal data, or creating viruses. However, these attitudes are only part of the problem: the landscape is evolving in such a way that the definition of hostile technology must be broadened to include actions that, while widely accepted, threaten the well-being of society.

Understand the potential of platforms: Building platforms is central to modern business strategy, but it is also an area fraught with ambiguity. There is a new focus on resolving uncertainties around platforms and linking platform creation to clearly defined business goals.

“As AI-assisted technologies become more common, they can impact more areas of our lives, and their implications must be considered from an ethical perspective,” says Rebecca Parsons, Chief Technology Officer at Thoughtworks. In this way, it becomes important for companies to develop productive and balanced partnerships between their employees and AI to extract maximum value from emerging technologies such as extended reality solutions, while staying aware of the potential ethical implications. Understanding how AI systems operate is critical to achieving and mitigating unintended consequences.”

Thoughtworks’ Look Glass study is updated annually to keep pace with changing business applications and technology priorities. Visit this site for the latest business and industry insights for digital leaders.

Thoughtworks is a global technology consulting firm that integrates strategy, design, and engineering to leverage digital innovation. We are more than 10,000 people spread over 49 offices and in 17 countries. For over 25 years, we’ve worked with our clients to make an extraordinary impact, using technology as a differentiator to help them solve complex business problems.

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