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Ethical Implications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution for Business and Society

Business Ethics

ISBN: 978-1-78973-684-7, eISBN: 978-1-78973-683-0

ISSN: 2514-1759

Publication date: 7 June 2019

Abstract

Businesses are rapidly automating workplaces with new technologies (e.g., driverless cargo trucks, artificially intelligent mortgage approvals, machine-learning-based paralegals, algorithmic managers). Such technological advancement raises a host of questions for business and society. As Thomas Donaldson recently remarked, “It’s instance of a problem that more sophisticated engineering cannot solve, and that requires a more sophisticated approach to values” (Ufberg, 2017). In this chapter, we explore the value questions as follows: What is the purpose of business in the machine age? What model for business will best serve society in coming decades: profit maximization, stakeholder theory, or another conception entirely? Is it time for a new social contract between business and society? Do firms have a natural duty to offer employment? Are existing concepts of responsibility/liability adequate for an age in which companies use autonomous robots as scapegoats? How can we protect our humanity and dignity in an algorithm-based society? Do we need to teach ethics to robots?

Keywords

Citation

Hooker, J. and Kim, T.W. (2019), "Ethical Implications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution for Business and Society", Business Ethics (Business and Society 360, Vol. 3), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 35-63. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2514-175920190000003002

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019 Emerald Publishing Limited