question archive Businesses must always protect their customers, stakeholders, and employees from legal trouble, including lawsuits and civil prosecution that may result when using emerging technology
Businesses must always protect their customers, stakeholders, and employees from legal trouble, including lawsuits and civil prosecution that may result when using emerging technology. Emerging technology use in business can be risky from a legal perspective because the technology has not been fully tested and all impacts studied. How will customers react to the technology? Can the technology harm a customer or an employee? Could the technology lead to lawsuits that could create financial harm to the business, owners, and stakeholders?
One of the emerging technology trends that could create legal implications for a business is intelligent interfaces. Intelligent interfaces, like touch screens and voice command, have already changed the way we use technology. Voice command technology has already had legal difficulties for the businesses that implemented the technology in their devices. Amazon has a voice recognition technology based on artificial intelligence called Alexa, which is a smart device called Echo. Amazon Echo, if used in business, could create a legal issue. Echo devices record your words and send them to a server at Amazon where they are analyzed to see if you said Alexa. Since the devices record a person without their knowledge, using the devices in business will violate laws in many states that prohibit recording people without their consent.
New intelligent interfaces will go much further when they appear in business. Some of the emerging intelligent interfaces will be able to detect human heart rates using thermal imaging in smart devices. In business, a customer or employee would never know they are being studied. A customer’s reaction could be monitored for excitement about a product. Imagine walking around a car dealership, and the dealership personnel being able to know which car the customer is interested in prior to being told by the customer. Buying a car is a negotiation for the best deal, so excitement should not be shown if you want to make a good deal. Stores could also use this technology to detect people stealing by looking for accelerated heart rate, which may reveal deception. This technology used in business could create lawsuits for invasion of privacy.
Another emerging technology that could create legal implications for businesses is the prediction of human behavior. Artificial intelligence in the form of deep learning could study data gathered about people to make predictions about future behavior. For business, understanding how a customer or employee will behave could be very helpful. Knowing what a customer may want to purchase ahead of speaking with that customer could provide unique marketing opportunities. Customers could file lawsuits for invasion of privacy against businesses using this type of technology.
Another example of using this technology in business that could create legal implications is screening potential employees. The ability to predict an applicant's likelihood of being absent or late to work can be used as a factor during the hiring process. The technology could also be used to predict the probability that a female employee would be seeking maternity leave. Similarly, technology might predict a potential employee’s retirement timeframe. If a business uses these predictions to make hiring or termination decisions, legal troubles may result. Federal laws include many guidelines for hiring and termination that businesses must follow. A business that discriminates in hiring or terminating based on predicted behaviors could face litigation.
Many of the emerging technologies gather, store, and analyze data on individuals. Businesses that have this data must secure it. Businesses can be held legally liable for revealing data, hacking, and data theft. Business like Amazon have already faced subpoenas for their data stored from the Echo where crimes might have been recorded.
· Emerging technologies used in business can create legal implications.
· Intelligent interfaces could create legal troubles, including violations of privacy laws.
· Emerging technology prediction of human behavior by machines could create legal violations of numerous laws, depending on how it is used.
· Data gathered, stored, and analyzed must be protected to minimize a business’ risk of legal troubles and lawsuits.
Maggie, a psychologist, installed Amazon Echo in her office so she can keep track of client appointments and play music during certain types of sessions. She was concerned by a news report that the device records conversations and saves them on Amazon's servers. Maggie's clients discuss personal events, sensitive information, and intimate details of their lives. They count on her to keep their sessions confidential and the APA demands it as well. Maggie and healthcare professionals like her would lose their licenses for recording or sharing private sessions without patient consent.
AI and Customers
Rajan uses an app to collect information from tourists so he can tailor tours to their interests. The app also collects information that makes it easy to predict customer behavior and market other products and services by leveraging information the customers didn't know they were providing. He has even had the opportunity to sell this information to other business owners. Invading privacy using AI is unethical and could be an illegal invasion of privacy.
AI and Hiring
Sarah is Director of HR in a large healthcare organization. Hiring the wrong person is costly, so Sarah is excited to implement an AI that assesses applicants via their application documents, a questionnaire, and their social media. The AI is supposed to accurately predict the applicant's fit for the organization, attendance habits, even future retirement age. Sarah is concerned though about EEOC compliance as well of local and state laws that protect groups of people who have historically been discriminated against.
Data Storage and Protection
Even though Metrix Media and Marketing Inc. collects consumer data legally; the founding partners are concerned about data breaches that would put tens of thousands of files in the hands of cyber criminals. Each file contains a person's name, date of birth, social security number, and credit card or banking information. If Metrix is lax in protecting the collected data, they can be held legally responsible for endangering consumers by putting them at risk for identity theft and financial loss.
Are There Ethical Components of Emerging Technology in Business?
Businesses need customers, employees, and investors to have confidence in its integrity. Any ethical scandal can damage that confidence. Emerging technology can pose an ethical risk for businesses, which could permanently damage its reputation and customer confidence. Since emerging technology is new and untested, businesses should be very cautious about implementing them, which may create ethical concerns.
One of the emerging technologies that creates ethical issues for businesses is personalized and contextualized marketing. Personalized or contextualized marketing studies data gathered about an individual by smart devices and provides individualized marketing recommendations. This emerging technology uses artificial intelligence to study human behavior to make predictions about future purchases.
A business that knows what customers may want to purchase can create individualized marketing. An insurance company could monitor a customer’s driving behaviors, without permission, through their smart phone and market products only to the people who have less risky driving behaviors. Drivers that have risky driving behaviors, like speeding and hard braking, would not be marketed to for insurance services. Is that ethical? The individual that is determined to be risky just because a child needed to get to the hospital quickly is going to find this technology unethical.
According to the blog “Ethical Advertising in the Intelligent Era” (Arin, 2019), consumers find it unethical to use data to do personalized marketing. Arin (2019) states that 59% of consumers view personalized ads on social media as unethical, mainly because their browsing data is being used to create these without their permission. Using this new technology may result in some new customers but at the same time make many customers think the business is unethical. Businesses must remember that customers feel that violating their right to privacy is unethical.
Another emerging technology that could create ethical issues if used by businesses is intelligent interfaces on smart devices. Smart devices can gather so much data now, but in the future, intelligent interfaces will be able to gather so much more. Businesses will be able to monitor a person’s heartbeat using thermal imaging. Those businesses could discover from that data a person’s feelings about almost anything. These devices could reveal excitement, deception, or dissatisfaction. Customers of a business using these technologies will find this unethical. Some customers and people, in general, like to keep their feelings private. Businesses must use this emerging technology with caution, as more people may not want to be a customer of businesses that do.
In an article by Brusoni and Vaccaro (2017), implementation of innovations in business could present ethical issues. Many businesses are using emerging technologies to gather, store, and analyze data. Technology that should be “ethically neutral” can be viewed as unethical depending on how the business uses it (Brusoni & Vaccaro, 2017). The values of the person affected by the technology will affect whether it is viewed as ethical or unethical (Brusoni & Vaccaro, 2017). Customers or employees of a business that value their privacy will find emerging technology that gathers, stores, and analyzes their data for self-beneficial purposes, like marketing, unethical.
Another emerging technology is called computer vision technology. Computer vision technology can be used to analyze photos, as well as, do face recognition. The technology is currently used in many smart devices for the purpose of biometrics. Some new smart phones can open your phone based on your face. This technology is predicted to be used more in surveillance applications. A camera on a street could be used to identify people just walking down the street. Some people feel this is an invasion of privacy and very unethical. Some people also worry this could be used to target individuals.
Businesses must use caution when implementing emerging technology because of ethical considerations
· Technology should be viewed as ethically neutral.
· The values of the individual affect the view of the technology being ethical or unethical.
Rashida watched a video on social media about careers in UX design. An hour later, the ads on her web browser changed to include several for UX design courses and degrees. When she opened a popular video sharing site, the suggested videos were focused on creating a UX portfolio and breaking into UX. Rashida felt spied on and did not appreciate this blatant use of browsing data to target her. Businesses must not cross the line from personalized to creepy as consumers are savvy and they know when they are being targeted.
Imagine knowing that a potential customer's heartrate sped up while she looked at the red truck and slowed when she looked at the blue compact car. Having this data on a phone or tablet could be as close to mind reading as a salesperson can hope for. On the other hand, the customer has a right to share her feelings about products when and if she chooses. There is a real potential for misunderstanding her reaction to a truck similar to the one that hit her years ago and to a car similar to her first beloved automobile. Business is about relationships and the emerging tech needs to support not replace those relationships and the communication that builds them.
Computer Vision Technology
Lionel found it annoying and offensive that the hand dryer in the men's room did not detect his hands but turned on immediately for his Caucasian coworkers. After this glitch became common knowledge in the office, people joked about it, but it highlights the fact that vision technology is only as effective as the images fed into it while it is being trained to see. And, this technology is subject to the biases of those training it.