We are pleased to announce the recent publication of a whole new section of our webpage devoted to ethics in technology. This section has four new ethics cases, an instructor teaching guide, and an instructional video. In addition, on Thursday, March 3, at 6 pm CT we plan to offer our very first live webinar to discuss how to implement and teach these cases. Click below to access the cases:
We are grateful to Elizabeth Luckman, Clinical Assistant Professor of Business Administration and RC Evans Data Analytics Fellow, for authoring all of this ethics content.
Overview of the cases
"Smart technology and privacy" - How should we think about the boundary between collecting users' personal information to improve the quality of a product and the privacy of the users?
"Social Media and the Content You See" - How should social media companies think about designing the algorithms that determine what users see?
"Facial recognition software" - How should companies be thinking about the collection and use of big data, especially facial recognition data?
"Replika – an AI chatbot" - As technology becomes more human, the potential is vast, but what are the ethical concerns?
Why Teach about Ethics in Technology?
Today’s students are preparing to enter a world that is changing faster than ever. Change leads to uncertainty, which makes it even easier for people to make decisions that are out of alignment with their values. As we navigate the developing world of technology, including AI, machine learning, cloud storage, and the internet of things, we will face increasingly uncertain decision dilemmas. We need to prepare ourselves and our students to act more
effectively and ethically under uncertainty. The University of Illinois-Deloitte Foundation Center for Business Analytics believes that we have a moral imperative to prepare our students with the critical thinking and research skills to navigate the ethical dilemmas
that they will undoubtedly face as they navigate their careers. We offer these tools to you as well. The more conversations we have and the more scenarios we consider, the more likely the members of our workforce will be prepared to act ethically.
How Can These Cases Help You?
The most recent research in ethics education and ethical decision-making acknowledges that making decisions, especially in light of ethical dilemmas, is an intuition-first process. When faced with ethical dilemmas, we are influenced by our own experiences as well as the situational factors of the moment. Cognitively, we are good at making a decision that we want to make and then rationalizing it (making it feel like we are being thoughtful when we are actually simply acting on gut instinct). While this is the case with all decision-making, it is even more common for ethical decision-making. Thus, the best way to build ethical muscle memory is through practice – building intentional habits about how to react in the face of decisions with a moral component. Using cases grounded in real events is even more important in the realm of technology, where students may have very limited hands-on experience with cutting-edge technology tools, business practices, and products.
These cases are short scenarios meant to align with the potential situations that recent graduates may face over the course of their careers. Thank you for engaging with our resources, and we encourage your feedback as you use them so that we continue to provide content that is most effective for evaluating the ethical concerns at work specific to technology and data science.