We’re in the midst of a technology revolution that’s having an unprecedented impact on businesses, society
Like those before it, this next generation of technology, known as the ‘fourth industrial revolution’, can be a powerful force for good. Innovations such as artificial intelligence, the internet of things and blockchain have the potential to tackle some of the most challenging problems of our time, from climate change and resource depletion to inequality and disease. They’ll also be a driver of economic advancement, for the UK and beyond.
But these same technological advances could have unintended consequences, accelerating risks to the Earth and society if they are not designed and scaled in a smart and sustainable way. What is required, therefore, is a balanced, responsible approach.
Technology is a key part of our commercial strategy – both as an enabler for our
We’ve established a series of commitments and actions that will help showcase the positive role of technology, as well as mitigate potentially adverse social, ethical and environmental concerns across our whole value chain i.e. our supply chain, operations, people agenda and client work (see diagram below). These are set out in a new, responsible technology policy, supported by our Executive Board.
Given that technology is a
With the right approach, technology represents not only an opportunity to grow our business and enhance the services we provide to clients, helping them to deliver commercial success, but also to solve the important problems of our time. We collaborate with many global and UK
For example, we’re collaborating with the World Economic Forum and Stanford University on a two year programme to explore how the fourth industrial revolution could help solve global environmental issues; we’ve published a paper exploring whether 'explainability' is a prerequisite for trust in AI; we’ve expanded our Tech She Can programme, and co-created a charter through which over fifty companies are committing to tackle gender imbalance in the technology sector; we’ve become a Founding Partner in the Business in the Community Inclusive Digital Champions Network; and we’re using our education outreach and community affairs programmes to share our skills and help young people from all sorts of under-represented sections of society to learn about technology and be inspired to get involved.
There are also risks associated with technology adoption. We’ve identified four which
We have a large number of internal programmes and systems which underpin our Responsible Technology policy, including:
For information about how we can help clients adopt technology responsibly, see our technology practice.
Chief Sustainability Officer, PwC United Kingdom