Latest Thoughtworks Looking Glass Brings Into Focus the Ethical Implications of Technology

Thoughtworks, a global technology consultancy that integrates strategy, design and engineering to drive digital innovation, today released Looking Glass, a guide to the critical technology-driven shifts set to shape business in 2022 and beyond. Based on Thoughtworks’ unique approach to delivering cutting-edge innovation to businesses before new technologies reach mass adoption, this report offers industry leaders recommendations on how to best compete and become disruptors themselves.

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Metaverse promises endless possibilities for consumers and businesses to work, live, play and learn in this new medium of extended reality (XR) technology. When XR is combined with artificial intelligence (AI) and devices, there are many inventive ways to play to human strengths and produce good outcomes that benefit society. Yet, it’s important to bear in mind that these technologies change the user experience and people represent themselves differently in virtual worlds, which can have moral and ethical implications.

“As AI-supported techniques become more mainstream, they can touch on more areas of our lives and their impacts need to be considered from an ethical perspective,” said Dr. Rebecca Parsons, chief technology officer at Thoughtworks. “Thus, it will be important for businesses to develop balanced and productive partnerships between their people and AI to extract maximum value from emerging technologies such as extended reality solutions, while also remaining mindful of the potential ethical implications. Understanding how AI systems work is key to perceiving and mitigating against unintended consequences.”

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The five lenses in today’s Looking Glass report are:

  • Evolving the human-machine experience: In moving with some inevitability toward the metaverse, the physical and digital worlds will further converge in a way that will open new possibilities for businesses.
  • Partnering with AI: Machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) continue to gain traction across industries. We are seeing rapid adoption in use cases that range from automating everyday operational processes, to augmenting strategic decision-making.
  • Accelerating towards sustainability: As consumers, governments and investors demand greater environmental accountability from companies, going green has gone from being optional to a business imperative.
  • Expanding impact of hostile tech: ‘Hostile’ technology is commonly associated with criminal activity such as ransomware, breaking into a system to steal data or creating computer viruses — but this misses the complete picture. The landscape is evolving in a way that the definition of hostile tech should be broadened to include legal, even widely accepted, acts that ultimately threaten societal well-being.
  • Realizing the potential of platforms: Platform building is core to modern business strategy – yet also an area that’s fraught with ambiguities. We see a new focus on resolving the uncertainties around platforms and connecting platform building to clearly defined business goals.

Thoughtworks’ Looking Glass is updated on an annual basis, to keep pace with the constant shifts in technology priorities and applications for businesses.

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