Forbes Insight Team
Originally posted March 27, 2019
Here is an excerpt:
Robert Foehl is now executive-in-residence for business law and ethics at the Ohio University College of Business. In industry, he’s best known as the man who laid the ethical groundwork for Target as the company’s first director of corporate ethics.
At a company like Target, says Foehl, ethical issues arise every day. “This includes questions about where goods are sourced, how they are manufactured, the environment, justice and equality in the treatment of employees and customers, and obligations to the community,” he says. “In retail, the biggest issues tend to be around globalism and how we market to consumers. Are people being manipulated? Are we being discriminatory?”
For Foehl, all of these issues are just part of various ethical frameworks that he’s built over the years; complex philosophical frameworks that look at measures of happiness and suffering, the potential for individual harm, and even the impact of a decision on the “virtue” of the company. As he sees it, bringing a technology like AI into the mix has very little impact on that.
“The fact that you have an emerging technology doesn’t matter,” he says, “since you have thinking you can apply to any situation.” Whether it’s AI or big data or any other new tech, says Foehl, “we still put it into an ethical framework. Just because it involves a new technology doesn’t mean it’s a new ethical concept.”
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