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The state of responsible technology

Consideration of how to deploy technology responsibly has wilt hair-trigger as tech and data have wilt increasingly entrenched in modern society and merchantry operations. Our research makes well-spoken that responsible technology use has wilt a subject of unconfined interest wideness industries. In fact, nearly three-quarters of survey respondents either strongly stipulate (30%) or somewhat stipulate (43%) that “responsible technology considerations will sooner come to equal merchantry or financial considerations in importance when organizations make decisions well-nigh technology use.”

Yet plane as respondents stipulate that responsible technology use is rhadamanthine the equal of increasingly traditional merchantry considerations, their explanations of why it is important and what they hope to unzip by raising it vary widely. For some businesses, responsible technology is a cadre part of their mission. Others see value in increasingly explicitly financial terms, such as a return on investment, talent acquisition, or improving sexiness to investors. Yet others seek merely to comply with regulation or to manage risk. Whether and how these disparate efforts and motivations will bring well-nigh substantial cultural shifts in how organizations prefer and deploy new technology remains to be seen.

What can be terminated is that responsible technology now goes vastitude a hypothetical or a buzzword—it has wilt a touchable merchantry consideration wideness industries. Executives are increasingly considering how responsible tech policies may impact trademark perception among customers, investors, vendors, and partners. Organizations are thinking increasingly seriously well-nigh how their employees, both current and future, view their use and megacosm of technology. And forward-looking merchantry leaders, at both small and large companies, expect that responsible technology, and practices related to environmental sustainability in particular, will protract to grow in importance.

Here are several other key findings:

Organizations expect responsible tech investments to pay off in boosted trademark reputation and consumer and employee retention. When asked well-nigh tangible merchantry benefits of raising responsible technology, the top three responses were largest consumer acquisition/retention (47%), improved trademark perception (46%), and prevention of negative unintended consequences and associated trademark risk (44%). Closely pursuit these top three were attracting and retaining top talent (43%) and improving sustainability (43%).

Large companies take initiative, while smaller companies react. Drivers for responsible tech policies come from diverse internal and external sources. Large companies were increasingly likely to say they were motivated by desire to vamp investors and partners (53%) and to uncurl with their own mission and values (44%), while smaller companies were increasingly likely to cite a desire to modernize perception of their organization (54%) and to strengthen employee retention (45%).

No consensus on which responsible practices should take priority. Organizations name a wide range of focuses for their responsible technology practices, with inclusive design, data privacy, environmental impact, suppuration of AI bias, and workforce diversification each in the top three for well-nigh half of respondents. User privacy and surveillance was seen as less important than all other options offered, with only 35% of respondents ranking it among their organization’s top three focuses.

Senior leadership must get on workbench to make impactful policies a reality. The most cited hurdles to adoption of responsible technology are a lack of senior management sensation (52%), organizational resistance to transpiration (46%), and internal competing priorities (46%).

Organizations are both wondering well-nigh and well-pleased of regulation surrounding responsible technology. Nearly one-quarter of respondents (23%) name trueness to existing laws, such as GDPR, or the vaticination of pending (and potentially farther-reaching) regulation as a top motivation for raising responsible tech practices, though this icon varies widely by industry and geography. While some merchantry leaders express trepidation well-nigh pending regulation, others cite it as important industry guidance.

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This content was produced by Insights, the custom content arm of MIT Technology Review. It was not written by MIT Technology Review’s editorial staff.