Last month, the board members of Ethics In Tech approved a new mission statement, which we unveiled at our recent event, “We Are All Ears: Ethics In Tech Community & Comedy Night III.” Drawing from our board’s diversity, commitment to social, economic and environmental justice and experience in the tech and activist arenas, our mission statement affirms our objective to effect positive change through collaborative information, engagement and activism.
Ethics In Tech previously identified five areas of focus for our 501 (c)(3) non-profit: equality in tech, employer-employee relations, the environmental impact of technology development, privacy and the ethical development and use of artificial intelligence. EIT founder Vahid Razavi further discusses each of these in detail in his recently published free e-book, Ethics In Tech and Lack Thereof: Sleeping Under the Cell Tower, in which he answers the question of our nonprofit’s mission by quoting the late Rev. Howard Thurman, co-founder of the Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples, who asked:
“What are we doing with our lives? What are the motives that order our days? Where do we put the emphasis and where are our lives focused?”
We’ve sought to answer these questions, at least for our organization, through the following mission statement. We welcome your feedback and participation!
Ethics In Tech Mission Statement:
Ethics In Technology works towards increased awareness around the ethical use of technology and seeks to make a positive impact through engaging the public at all levels of our society in conversation about these issues. We promote the use of technology for nonviolent purposes, sustainable environmental practices and elimination of ecological harm from the waste produced by the tech industry, workers’ rights, action to mitigate income inequality, civil and individual rights and liberties, including privacy, and finally, using emerging AI technology in a positive, ethical way.
We believe in working with government agencies, with those who use technology and work in the industry, and with industry leaders to make a lasting impact in the following areas:
–Nonviolence — We encourage tech employees, civilian contractors not to engage in creating weapons of war. We believe in tight international regulation on the sale and distribution of conventional weapons to rogue dictators. We believe in the practice of nonviolence in all our activities.
–Protecting Our Earth — We treat the environment with respect to leave the least possible impact of our presence and to preserve it for future generations. From technology development to reuse or proper disposal of waste, we take a holistic view of our impact on the environment and do our part to save what we have left.
–Workers’ Rights and Responsibilities — We treat all tech employees as our brothers and sisters. We give each other equal respect. We perform to the best of our ability in the workplace and advocate for the rights of our fellow workers. We respect our employers in mutual understanding as we work together for the common good. We expect basic rights in the workplace, such as equal pay and equal treatment regardless of gender, sex, disability, or other characteristic. In return we add value to employers by bringing a thoughtful, committed and diverse workforce to the table..
–Civil Liberties — Just because we work for an employer does not mean our basic rights to privacy can be violated. On the contrary, in a free democratic society we expect privacy at our homes, at work and in the larger community.
–Artificial Intelligence, Guided by Morality and Social Good — We have the power to create our replacements or our future partners in creating a better world, through artificial intelligence. How we shape and develop AI impacts us all. We should be mindful of our powers and regulate what we create to ensure we bring about good and not evil.
“Technology is a double-edged sword,” Razavi writes in Ethics In Tech and Lack Thereof: Sleeping Under the Cell Tower, “with the power to both create and solve some of humanity’s biggest problems.” He adds that “using technology for good and making ethical decisions and changes within organizations adds value. It’s better for tech companies, it’s better for their workers, it’s better for their customers and it’s better for humanity.” Razavi believes that “when tech companies truly understand that being ethical is best for their bottom line, they’ll be more inclined to do the right thing.”
It is our ceaseless mission to move always toward the right thing. We invite you to join us! Get in touch with us on the contact page of this site, or email us at EthicsInTechSF@gmail.com.