Amplify event untangles IT ethics

Posted on Nov 15, 2019 :: Insight on Business, Web Exclusive
Jessica Thiel
Posted by of Insight Publications

David Ryan Polgar, a tech ethicist and founder of All Tech is Human, spoke at Amplify Oshkosh’s Ethical IT event on Nov. 15.

From the complexities of autonomous vehicles to privacy concerns to artificial intelligence, technology presents a perpetual plethora of ethical dilemmas. At its Ethical IT event, Amplify Oshkosh explored strategies and philosophies surrounding some of the IT’s most pressing questions.

David Ryan Polgar, a tech ethicist and founder of All Tech is Human, says the speed with which technology evolves makes it difficult to address concerns as they arise. “We don’t need to slow down innovation, but what we can do is actually speed up our consideration about those technologies,” he said.

There’s often a gulf between creation of technology and consideration of its consequences, Polgar said. He points to the sharing economy as an example of this, including Uber and Aribnb. Innovation pushed quickly with these two companies, but the way society handles issues that have arisen has been reactive, he said.

Tackling ethical dilemmas often is challenging because technology can simultaneously offer amazing potential and serious drawbacks, Polgar said. For example, facial recognition could help police do their jobs more effectively, but at the same time, we have this “Orwellian fear that we don’t want to be cataloged as humans,” he said.

Polgar encouraged attendees to evaluate technology holistically. “The point is that every time we’re considering something, we don’t just want to consider the technology … we want to say, ‘What’s the technology? What’s the education? What about the policy and the participation?’”

In addition to Polgar’s keynote, the day featured two panel discussions: “Rules of Engagement” and “Ask the Experts.” It also included a “What would you do?” ethical IT challenge session, a look at the ethical dilemmas surrounding AI, networking and a sponsor expo.