Technological progress is transforming the concept of society. From the interaction between a small group of people or area to the connection between people across the globe. However, the relationship between society and technology is compromised if the ethics of technology operations are ignored by the technology professional and practitioner.

Technological ethics does not force a person to stay away from using some social media applications but gives the professional the ability to distinguish between right and wrong. However, ethics is an important component of the role of professionals and practitioners, and indeed of many formal institutions.

The European e-Competence Framework regards ethics as one of the pillars of professionalism, as do other IT professional institutions like Computer Society Malta (CSM), British Computer Society (BCS), Association of Computing Professionals (ACP), Information Theory Society (IEEE), (Irish Computer Society (ICS), Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP), Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET), Associazione Italiana per l’Informatica ed il Calcolo Automatico (AICA), Latvian Communications and Information Technologies Association (LIKTA), the Dutch Professional Association of Information and IT Professionals (KNVI), and many others. Members have to abide by their association’s respective code of ethics. Even ICT faculties at universities and colleges will have a module about this.

The demand for more technology has not affected our relationship with society but has changed the way we are socialising. Thanks to technological advances, scientists can do more research and save thousands of lives by finding the cure for dangerous diseases, and that won’t stop. Technology will advance our lifestyle, and the connection between society and technology will be strengthened. Technology also plays an important role in improving our environment in order to offer people a healthy lifestyle.

Changes and social pressures from digital technologies may require a fundamental revision of the social contract

Recent technological developments have allowed us to live a more comfortable life. From gaining access to huge amounts of information on the internet, to simply experiencing an enriched personal lifestyle to more proactive managing of our finances, we benefit from technology every day. It is undoubtedly true that technology is an important part of our daily life.

The development of automation, which is made possible by technologies such as robotics and artificial intelligence, promises higher productivity (and thus economic growth), greater efficiency, security and convenience. However, these technologies also pose difficult questions about the overall impact of automation on jobs, skills, wages and the nature of the work itself. Many jobs that workers do today can be automated. Independent workers are increasingly offering their services on digital platforms such as Upwork, Uber and Etsy, questioning conventional ideas about how and where they work.

The rapid adoption of technology can release enormous economic value, even if it implies a significant need for retraining and redeployment. However, the value of the digitisation recorded depends on how many people and companies have access to it.

Approximately 75 per cent of this offline population is concentrated in 20 countries, including Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Tanzania. They are disproportionately rural, low-income, older, illiterate and female. Networking these people is of great value, and when they enter the global, digital economy, the world of work will change fundamentally and at an unprecedented rate.

Changes and social pressures from digital technologies may require a fundamental revision of the social contract. A new digital social contract is likely to be needed, the details of which we are not currently sure of, but whose outlines we see today in proposals ranging from a universal basic income to an institutionalised time without digital distraction. The hope is that political processes will allow our social arrangements to adapt at a pace commensurate with general technological change, and that malfunctions in political processes will not be amplified by digital technologies.

Looking at how different technologies have affected a multitude of sectors in positive manner, it is safe to say that this advancement is making our quality of life better. As with any other tool, the responsibility falls upon the supplier to supply a safe product but on the user to safely make use of it.

This article was prepared from various publicly available online sources.

Claude Calleja, Executive at eSkills Malta Foundation

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