Dr Leslie Broudo-Mitts, head of the Sofaer Global MBA program, on ethics and technological innovation
Within the framework of the lecture series 'Management on the Bar', a meeting on the subject of Decision Making in the New World, hosted Dr Leslie Broudo-Mitts, head of the Sofaer Global MBA program at the Coller School of Management and Dr Julia Shamir, a lecturer on business ethics, in the Sofaer Global MBA program.
A meeting, within the framework of the lecture series 'Management on the Bar', titled: From Entrepreneurship to Leadership – Decision Making in the New World, was held at the Tailor Made Bar in Tel Aviv. Among the young people participating in the meeting, which was organized by Tel Aviv University’s Coller School of Management, were entrepreneurs just starting out. The guest speakers were Dr Leslie Broudo-Mitts, head of the Sofaer Global MBA program in entrepreneurship and technological innovation at the Coller School and Dr Julia Shamir, a lecturer in the program.
The focal issue of the meeting was the price of innovation from the point of view of ethics, that is, the new ethical questions on issues such as invasion of privacy, genetic engineering, and autonomic vehicles that arise from the changes that rapid technological development are bringing about in our lifestyles, consumption habits, work procedures, and communication patterns.
According to Dr Leslie Broudo-Mitts: “The combining of the research facet of development and problem solving with the business facet of developing and managing a company means that startups will continue to proliferate all over the world.” Relating to the ethical issue, Dr Boudo-Mitts noted: “Technology is changing the lives of everyone and in fact it is changing our very personalities as citizens. We have to contend with complex questions in an uncertain world, when we don’t have a road map of the future. The main challenge is how to predict and to manage the ethical challenges that arise from the technological developments, some of which nobody has ever thought about.”
According to Dr Julia Shamir: “The overall purpose of innovation is to improve and to do things better, so that the message is mostly positive, but we cannot ignore the ethical questions that arise in the context of issues such as genetic mapping and their significance for us as individuals and as a society, now and in the future. Innovators who become managers during the course of their careers have to contend in the early stages of developing their innovations and certainly in the continuation when they are managers with these complex issues.”
Dr Shamir explained that while decision making by people is considered to be biased and subject to various influences, decision making by machines and computers is supposedly objective. However, the decisions depend on the data fed into them, so we have to remember where the data come from. One of the ethical questions that has been posed concerns autonomic vehicles – how to program a vehicle facing a real-time dilemma. Should the driver turn the vehicle to the right and smash into a wall or left and run down pedestrians? "Much research is being conducted on how to feed in the data", Dr Shamir noted. When a member of the audience asked her why we need autonomic vehicles, if these are the dangers they pose, Dr Shamir answered: “Overall, the data indicate that these vehicles will lead to more careful driving and a reduction in the number of accidents. It is innovation that impels the structural changes in society, in industry and in the economy and we have no reason to fear them, but we do have to prepare ourselves for the repercussions of innovation, including the ethical considerations.”
The Coller School of Management at Tel Aviv University holds the 'Management on the Bar' meetings in cooperation with Wize – a social venture that aims to advance science, culture, knowledge and technology for the general public in a format that combines content with recreation.