Thursday, October 18, 2018

Why Responsibility by Design now?

Excellent article by @riptari, providing some context for Gartner's current position on ethics and privacy.

Gartner has been talking about digital ethics for a while now - for example, it got a brief mention on the Gartner website last year. But now digital ethics and privacy has been elevated to the Top Ten Strategic Trends, along with (surprise, surprise) Blockchain.

Progress of a sort, says @riptari, as people are increasingly concerned about privacy.

The key point is really the strategic obfuscation of issues that people do in fact care an awful lot about, via the selective and non-transparent application of various behind-the-scenes technologies up to now — as engineers have gone about collecting and using people’s data without telling them how, why and what they’re actually doing with it. 
Therefore, the key issue is about the abuse of trust that has been an inherent and seemingly foundational principle of the application of far too much cutting edge technology up to now. Especially, of course, in the adtech sphere. 
And which, as Gartner now notes, is coming home to roost for the industry — via people’s “growing concern” about what’s being done to them via their data. (For “individuals, organisations and governments” you can really just substitute ‘society’ in general.) 
Technology development done in a vacuum with little or no consideration for societal impacts is therefore itself the catalyst for the accelerated concern about digital ethics and privacy that Gartner is here identifying rising into strategic view.

Over the past year or two, some of the major players have declared ethics policies for data and intelligence, including IBM (January 2017), Microsoft (January 2018) and Google (June 2018). @EricNewcomer reckons we're in a "golden age for hollow corporate statements sold as high-minded ethical treatises".

According to the Magic Sorting Hat, high-minded vision can get organizations into the Ravenclaw or Slytherin quadrants (depending on the sincerity of the intention behind the vision). But to get into the Hufflepuff or Gryffindor quadrants, organizations need the ability to execute. So it's not enough for Gartner simply to lecture organizations on the importance of building trust.

Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o'clock in the morning.




Natasha Lomas (@riptari), Gartner picks digital ethics and privacy as a strategic trend for 2019 (TechCrunch, 16 October 2018)

Sony Shetty, Getting Digital Ethics Right (Gartner, 6 June 2017)


Related posts (with further links)

Data and Intelligence Principles from Major Players (June 2018)
Practical Ethics (June 2018)
Responsibility by Design (June 2018)
What is Responsibility by Design (October 2018)

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