By Hannellie Mendoza
Insight Direct USA, Inc
Class 30 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s Core Program. The views expressed here represent those of class members and not those of Scottsdale Leadership.
Technology Day would not be complete without a discussion of the current landscape and emerging trends. Mobile apps, drones, wearables, self-driving cars, cloud, cyber security and IoT (Internet of Things) top the list of the latest and greatest in the tech world today. All of these are fueled by information, OUR information, to enable these tech devices to be as useful as we expect them to be. Technology has always consumed information or data for the longest time, but today’s demand for real time information to deliver more personalized functionalities require massive amounts of data to be processed. Hence, the birth of the term “big data”. Data streams at unprecedented speed from both structured and unstructured sources, from humans and machines at different times of the hour, day, week or month depending on what’s trending in different parts of the country and the world. Our lives today are so intertwined with technology that it is unthinkable for anyone to be without their cell phones for even five minutes!
As people revel in what these cool technologies can do, businesses grapple with staying abreast of new technological developments to be competitive. However, to succeed in this environment, not only do businesses have to be competitive, they also have to constantly innovate, be a step ahead, even disrupt what is tried and true in favor of new models that reflect changing consumer behavior. Behavior that, in the first place, was influenced by these rapidly changing technologies. Are we then in a virtuous circle or a vicious circle? We’re in both. All these great tech developments come with both good and bad consequences, and, uncontrolled, will send humanity hurtling towards its own Digital Darwinism.
This is where ethics in technology leadership comes in. We all know that whoever has information has power. Big Data presents both opportunities for improving our way of life and temptations to use this information for personal or business gain. The Leadership dilemma lies in three areas:
- Use of information : Should there be boundaries around the use of big data and what will ensure a fair distribution of risks and benefits?
- Social responsibility: The United Nations’ Nov 2015 survey shows that 54% of global households do not have internet access. Will we exacerbate the digital divide with decisions for consumer products, health products, etc. determined based on those who have internet access or own digital devices? Will it foster discrimination based on a company knowing too much personal information about us?
- The end game: Convenience vs. the loss of privacy and security? What are the trade-offs?
As we encourage our young people to embark on careers in technology, let us not forget to equip them with the moral fiber to make the right decisions and the hard decisions on how to use technology. As Intelligent Devices start proliferating and gathering information all around us, it is imperative that we encourage technology leaders and us, Scottsdale Leadership Class 30, as leaders in our respective fields, to create and uphold ethical business practices to harmonize market trust and business success.