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People who follow ethical behavior recognize what is right and wrong. They strive consistently to set a good example by following a good code of conduct. In a business setting, following ethical behavior means applying the principles of fairness and honesty to a relationship with customers and coworkers. The individuals make all the effort to treat others in the same way as they want themselves to be treated.
Can organizations address issues of ethics to avoid internal discord and financial penalties and ultimately become magnets for those who want to join a workforce attuned to such matters? Questions around ethics and technological development have grown more important — and the ramifications of not answering them more obviously present — with the accelerating pace of innovation.
Total compliance with the law does not guarantee that an organization or individual is also behaving ethically. There is a gap.
Steve Salbu discusses this gap and other dilemmas during his ethics classes. Salbu is the Cecil B. Day Chair in Business Ethics at the Scheller College of Business, where he leads the Cecil B. Day Program in Business Ethics.
If self-driving cars become widespread, society will have to grapple with a new burden: the ability to program vehicles with preferences about which lives to prioritize in the event of a crash. Human drivers make these choices instinctively, but algorithms will be able to make them in advance. So will car companies and governments choose to save the old or the young? The many or the few?
A new paper published today by MIT probes public thought on these questions, collating data from an online quiz launched in 2016 named the Moral Machine.
Please feel free to contact the Ethikos Weekly Newsletter editor Margaret Dragon.
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