President’s Podium April 2019
Old-School Ethics in the 4th Industrial Revolution
Those of us who have worked in the IT sector for many years have been witness to – and part of – exhilarating change. Technologies and models we could once only dream of have quickly become the new normal, and there’s even more change ahead. We are in the midst of the 4th Industrial Revolution, where everything is interconnected and smart, and where the solutions we all knew were possible are coming into their own to improve business and daily life.
While IT professionals thrive on this change and innovation, there are some aspects of our work which I believe should not change. Our approach to planning, modelling and testing, for example, should remain rooted in the old-style diligence that made the IT sector great.
And crucially, our approach to ethics has to remain ‘old school’ amid the wave of innovation going on. Old school ethics demand transparency, consideration of the impact our work will have on businesses and society, and a commitment to professionalism above all else. Now that IT runs literally everything, we have to trust that the code and systems have been built honestly and professionally, to deliver what is expected of them.
As we enter the next generation of computing, we have to reflect on the meaning of ethics, and become more accountable for the work that we do. Because now, the world literally depends on it.