May 26, 2022

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Ethical implications of technology

Thoughtworks has reissued the Look Glass report, a guide to the major technology-driven changes that will shape the economy in 2022 and beyond. The report provides recommendations for companies on how to compete successfully and turn into turmoil.


The Looking Glass Report covers a total of 100 different technology trends, viewable through five lenses. The list provides companies with insight into how to approach these trends: anticipate, analyze, or actually embrace?

It should be noted that technology often has ethical implications. An example is the metaverse. It promises endless possibilities for consumers and businesses to work, live, play and learn in this new medium of Augmented Reality (XR).

When XR, artificial intelligence (AI) and hardware are combined, there are many creative ways to manipulate human strengths and produce good results for the benefit of society. But this technology is fundamentally changing the user experience and people’s perception of themselves differently in virtual worlds, which can have moral and ethical implications.

The five lenses in the Looking Glass Report are:

  1. The evolution of human-machine interaction
    We are changing the way we interact with the digital world and what we expect from it. Traditional devices extend their reach through voice and gesture interaction, and real-world scenarios are tested through the use of dual digital simulations that guide consumers and model outcomes. The physical and digital worlds are inevitably converging towards the metaverse, opening up new opportunities for businesses.
  1. Partnership with artificial intelligence
    Machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) continue to gain momentum across industries. Business Thinking is seeing rapid adoption in use cases ranging from process automation to improving strategic decision making.

    Precisely because AI-powered technologies affect more and more areas of life, their effects must be viewed from an ethical point of view. This is leading the research and development of tools to support interpretable artificial intelligence (XAI) and more robust governance processes, including automated compliance.

  1. Accelerate to Sustainability
    As consumers, governments, and investors demand greater environmental responsibility from businesses, going green has become an economic necessity rather than just an option. Consumers want to feel good about the impact of their actions on the environment, and they will increasingly consider sustainability when choosing a brand or supplier.

    This requires companies to consider the environmental costs of their products and processes and then adopt more sustainable strategies and technologies. Sustainability is not a rule that must be followed, but it must be understood as an effective contribution to the goals of the company.

  1. The growing influence of hostile technologies
    Hostile technology is usually associated with criminal activities such as ransomware, data theft system hacks, or computer viruses – but this misses the bigger picture. The definition should be expanded to include legal, even widely accepted, acts that ultimately threaten the well-being of society.

    Not all malicious behavior is malicious or intentional. Examples include biases in algorithms or machine learning systems. These may show ‘harmful’ tendencies towards certain groups of consumers without compromising or designing as such, but due to unplanned and unnoticed biases in the way they are designed or developed.

  1. Exploiting the potential of the platforms
    Creating platforms is a key element of the modern company’s strategy – but it’s also an area fraught with a lot of mystery. This is not only due to the fundamental difficulty of building a platform well, but often also due to a fundamental miscalculation of the usefulness that the platform is supposed to bring.

Look Glass from Thoughtworks is updated annually to keep pace with ever-changing technology and business applications priorities.

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