This article was originally pubished on The Human Argument and was written by Neil McBride, a researcher in Computer Ethics in the Centre for Computing and Social Responsibility, De Montfort University. So the first workers to fall, to lose their jobs, crushed under the relentless march of AI and the robots are not the care workers, factory workers or cleaners, but sports journalists. At Wimbledon, they have been replaced by IBM Watson.
Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have raised ethical concerns for almost as long as they exist. Professional bodies like the BCS, ACM or IEEE have therefore developed and implemented ways of addressing these concerns, such as codes of ethics or professional responsibilities. Despite these activities the ethical issues arising from ICTs are now more prominent than ever before. If you open a newspaper you will almost invariably find articles about ethical issues directly linked to technology. Fake news, election meddling, concerns about robots and AI are among high-profile issues. This is caused by the continuing advance of ICT in most aspects of our social, organizational and personal lives. Human beings rely on them for numerous aspects of daily life such as education, communication, entertainment, travelling or storing personal data. The pervasiveness of those technologies in everyday life continues to increase and at the same time the pace of technological development is becoming increasingly fast. While you may find it exciting to think that one day technologies will be able to replace humans in many tasks considered mundane, this also pose the question of what would happen if robots will be able to do everything better than humans.
Report after report shows global under-representation of women in science. This is especially prevalent in physical sciences, where women make up only 28% of the combined fields worldwide. Observers of the scientific disciplines such as Elsevier have suggested several reasons why this may be the case, from bias in hiring to authorship, recognition, and promotion. To some degree the ‘leaky pipeline’ in scientific fields is no different than in other disciplines and sectors – the pattern of many women at entry level but few at the top is familiar.