The conclusion that can be drawn is that responsible technology has now moved beyond assumptions or buzzwords – it has become a concrete business consideration across industries. Executives are increasingly considering how responsible technology policy affects brand perception among customers, investors, suppliers and partners. Organizations are thinking more seriously about how their employees, both present and future, perceive their use and creation of technology. Forward-looking business leaders, large and small, expect that responsible technology, especially practices related to environmental sustainability, will continue to grow in importance.
Here are a few other key findings:
• Organizations expect responsible technology investments to pay off in terms of enhanced brand reputation and retention of customers and employees. When asked about the actual business benefits of adopting responsible technology, the top three responses were better customer acquisition/retention (47%), increased brand recognition (46%), and prevention of negative unintended consequences and associated brand risks ( 44%). Following the top three are attracting and retaining top talent (43%) and improving sustainability (43%).
• Big companies take the initiative, while small companies react. The drivers of responsible technology policy come from different internal and external sources. Larger companies are more likely to say they are motivated by attracting investors and partners (53%) and aligning with their mission and values (44%), while smaller companies are more likely to say they want to improve the perception of their organization (54%) and enhanced employee retention (45%).
• There is no consensus on which responsible practices should be prioritized. Organizations listed a wide range of concerns for their responsible technology practices, with inclusive design, data privacy, environmental impact, de-biasing AI, and workforce diversity all ranking in the top three for about half of respondents. User privacy and monitoring was deemed less important than all other options offered, with only 35% of respondents listing it as one of their organization’s top three concerns.
• Senior leadership must be engaged to make impactful policies a reality. The most cited barriers to responsible technology adoption were lack of senior management awareness (52%), organizational resistance to change (46%) and internal competing priorities (46%).
• Organizations both worry about and appreciate regulation around responsible technology. Nearly a quarter (23%) of respondents cite compliance with existing laws (such as GDPR) or the expectation of pending (and potentially more far-reaching) regulations as their top motivation for adopting responsible technology practices, despite this Numbers vary by industry and geography. While some business leaders expressed concern about the upcoming regulation, others saw it as an important guide for the industry.
This content was produced by Insights, the custom content division of MIT Technology Review. It was not written by the editorial staff of MIT Technology Review.