Almost three-quarters (73 per cent) of enterprises agree they must consider responsible use alongside business and financial implications when implementing technology, according to a new report from Thoughtworks, a global technology consultancy firm, and MIT Technology Review Insights.
The report, The state of responsible technology, explores how organisations understand technology use, their motivations for adopting more responsible practices, and the benefits of doing so.
The survey drew on responses from 550 senior executives from nine countries and regions including the USA, Canada, Brazil, the UK, Germany, India, Australia, Singapore and China.
Other key findings indicated that the top business benefits associated with implementing responsible technology include better customer acquisition, improved brand perception, the prevention of negative unintended consequences, the ability to attract and retain top talent and improve sustainability.
Furthermore, 67 per cent of respondents said that their organisation has existing methodologies, guidelines or frameworks for implementing specific types of responsible technology. This was more common amongst executives in the public sector than those at financial services businesses.
When asked to cite the main barriers to adopting responsible technology, 52 per cent of respondents suggested a lack of senior management awareness, while 48 per cent noted both organisational resistance to change and internal competing priorities as key hurdles.
“The reach of technology is extending into more sensitive and complex arenas, from credit decisions and medical diagnoses to criminal sentencing,” said Dr Rebecca Parsons, chief technology officer at Thoughtworks. “It impacts everyday interactions with ourselves, friends and family, as well as our employees, customers and citizens. It is no surprise that companies are thinking more about how they’re building more responsible technology rather than focusing solely on parameters such as convenience or cost.”
MIT Technology Review Insights’ global editorial director, Laurel Ruma said: “At its core, the notion of responsible technology is about ensuring that everyone benefits from the deployment of technology. I’m encouraged by what I see in this report: today’s business leaders are not only starting to understand the urgent need for the responsible use of technology but they’re also seeing the solid, enterprise-enhancing reasons for doing so.”