Anticipating and managing the impact of change

Ethics in the digital workplace

Report
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30 Maj 2022
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Ključne ugotovitve

  • Depending on their design and use in the workplace, digital technologies such as artificial intelligence, advanced robots and sensor technologies impact on many areas of working conditions, raising new ethical concerns about workers’ fundamental rights. It will be critical to ensure policies on ethical issues also consider quality aspects of work and not just legal and compliance issues.
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  • Depending on their design and use in the workplace, digital technologies such as artificial intelligence, advanced robots and sensor technologies impact on many areas of working conditions, raising new ethical concerns about workers’ fundamental rights. It will be critical to ensure policies on ethical issues also consider quality aspects of work and not just legal and compliance issues.
  • COVID-19 may have boosted the use of digital technologies in the workplace, in some cases with little consideration for the ethical implications. Technologies used to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace may be redeployed for other purposes, such as enhanced monitoring and surveillance of workers. It is therefore crucial to re-assess the ethical implications of the use of digital technologies both in terms of job quality and workers’ rights.
  • Ethical issues are more frequently raised in relation to the use of AI than other digital technologies and are most prominently debated in northern and continental EU Member States. In recent years, there has been a proliferation of guidelines for an ethical use of technologies, however, it remains unclear which ethical principles should be prioritised or how they should be implemented, monitored and enforced.
  • Trade unions have been particularly vocal about the ethical implications of AI in the workplace and have taken a proactive approach by issuing ethical guidelines, initiating projects and awareness campaigns and, in some instances, making proposals for changes in policies. The implementation of ethical principles should be taken up by the social partners in the context of the framework agreement on digitalisation signed by the major European social partners in 2020.
  • Digital technologies evolve rapidly so their use is extended beyond their original purpose. Provisions in national legislation tend to be a step behind technological changes and are not always effective in cushioning the negative or unintended effects of technologies. There is an urgent need to build on existing legislative frameworks to ensure that technologies are used ethically and responsibly in the workplace.
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Povzetek

Digitisation and automation technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), can affect working conditions in a variety of ways and their use in the workplace raises a host of new ethical concerns. Recently, the policy debate surrounding these concerns has become more prominent and has increRead more

Digitisation and automation technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), can affect working conditions in a variety of ways and their use in the workplace raises a host of new ethical concerns. Recently, the policy debate surrounding these concerns has become more prominent and has increasingly focused on AI. This report maps relevant European and national policy and regulatory initiatives. It explores the positions and views of social partners in the policy debate on the implications of technological change for work and employment. It also reviews a growing body of research on the topic showing that ethical implications go well beyond legal and compliance questions, extending to issues relating to quality of work. The report aims to provide a good understanding of the ethical implications of digitisation and automation, which is grounded in evidence-based research.

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Raziskave, ki so bile izvedene pred izstopom Združenega kraljestva iz Evropske unije 31. januarja 2020 in objavljene pozneje, lahko vključujejo podatke o 28 državah članicah EU. Po tem datumu je v raziskavah upoštevanih le 27 držav članic EU (EU-28 brez Združenega kraljestva), razen če ni določeno drugače.

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