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Artificial Intelligence: The Imperative Role of Ethics in its Development


Artificial Intelligence has and will have greater potential for improving the lives of millions. It may very well be the New Frontier of our century. Today, AI is being used extensively and beneficially in practically all fields of our daily lives such as in healthcare, the automotive industry, finance, the economy, politics, justice and marketing. Towards Data Science has compiled the following interesting statistics: According to Adobe, only 15% of enterprises are using AI as of today, but 31% are expected to add it over the coming 12 months. International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that the compound annual growth rate for global spending on AI will be 50.1%, reaching $57.6 billion by 2021. Accenture predicts that The AI healthcare market is expected to hit $6.6 billion by 2021. On the negative side PWC found that 38% of U.S. jobs are vulnerable to being replaced by AI in the next 15 years. Such transform…
Guidelines, Codes and Principles-What’s the Point?
CEO Richard Edelman delivered a speech entitled The Battle Ground is Trust, at the National Press Club on Wednesday October 18, 2017 where, he deplores the people’s loss of trust in industries, institutions and governments. He then calls for a new set of ethics principles for the PR industry.
I find it very remarkable and encouraging that the CEO of the world’s largest PR firm addresses, head on, the issues of ethics in the practice of the profession. He says: “Every company and brand has the responsibility to behave ethically” and that “organization individual guide lines do not safeguard ethical behavior.”
He is right. No guidelines, codes or principles will ever safeguard against wrongdoing.
We’ve had the Ten Commandments for thousands of years, yet people still break those commandments systematically and universally. Should we abandon them completely?
God forbid!
Many PR firms and most trade organizations have their own codes of cond…
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Your Humble Servant, The CEO

The term “leadership” is relatively new. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word can be traced only as far back as the 19th century.
Today, leadership has become a hot topic. Amazon offers 300,000 books with the word “leadership” in the title. It seems that most everyone wants to be a leader or at least be perceived as one. The leadership status carries panache and demands respect and undoubtedly satisfies one’s ego.
The most frequent question asked when discussing leadership is whether leaders are born or made? The consensus today is that there are indeed some in-born characteristics that predisposes people to become leaders. A recentresearch by the University of Illinois suggests that leadership is 30 % genetic and 70 % lessons learned by life experiences.
I was awakened to the possibility that I might have some leadership qualities by an incident in my teens. I was in the English Church in Lausanne, Switzerland, during a Christmas service. I …
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The Ethics of Silence and of Speaking Up


The virtues of silence have long been recognized. The popular saying “speech is silver but silence is golden” may date back to ancient Egypt. It probably means that in some circumstances the less you say the better it is. I can imagine that when you are in the company of strangers, discretion would be more appropriate than indiscretion. Keeping a secret can be a form of silence that is highly ethical. Silence in some cases is a legal right. If you are being arrested, you do have “the right to remain silent.” The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution permits you not to answer specific questions when you may, by the answers given, incriminate yourself. Sometimes silence is an obligation as when its purpose is not to disturb the tranquility of others such as in the library or the Amtrak silence car. I am afraid I was oblivious to that obligation last week as I boarded an Amtrak train on my way to Annapolis, Md., to speak to a PRSA Chapter. I asked …
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Patriotism Today
The current “Anthem” protests controversy should hopefully lead to a national conversation as to the meaning of patriotism.   What does it mean to be patriotic today, in a very divided society with sometimes opposing views of America’s core values and what it stands for?
Patriotism is perceived as a positive concept and attitude sustained by strong emotions such as love, belonging, gratitude and pride.
A position or an attitude perceived as un-patriotic is considered by some as a form of treason that deserves punishment.  According the U.S. Constitution (Article III, Section 3) “Congress shall have the power to declare the punishment of treason.”
Patriotism can be misused or even abused if wrongly applied. John Kleinig, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Criminal Justice, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, the co-author of The Ethics of Patriotism, makes the point that patriotism might be conceived as a virtue but one that could potentially be cor…
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The Daily Stormer & the Limits of “Free Speech.”

The recent display of hatred and violence at Charlottesville’s protest was truly shocking. It left one woman dead, Heather Heyer, killed and many injured when a White Supremacist, James Alex Field ran his car into the crowd. The dramatic events at Charlottesville were very well documented in Who HBO-Vice’s “Race& Terror.”
GoDaddy, Inc. the web-hosting company decided to ban the Daily Stormer’s site after it posted an article ridiculing  Heather, the victim.
Ben Butler, a director at GoDaddy said:
“While we detest the sentiment of such sites, we support a free and open internet and, align along the principles of free speech, that sometimes means allowing such tasteless, ignorant content. He added, however:  “In instances where a site goes beyond the mere exercise of these freedoms, however, and crosses over to promoting, encouraging, or otherwise engaging in violence against any person, we will take action. In our determination, es…
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The Grenfell Tower Tragedy
The tragic, senseless death of 79 people in the burning of the Grenfell Tower could have been avoided. Last Sunday’s front page of New York Times article, An Accident Waiting to Happen makes it clear.
Accidents are defined as “unforeseen and unplanned events or circumstances (Webster.)
This was no accident.
As Justin Davidson wrote in NewYork Magazine

“There is no such thing as an accident when a high-rise building fails. If gas leaks, wires spark, or a wall crumbles, those are not acts of fate, but the preventable consequence of people not doing their jobs.”
As in most catastrophes, there were warnings that were willfully ignored for cost consideration. Glyndon Evans, a fire safety advisor to the fire fighters’ union had testified in parliament about the risk that the cladding that made up the fa├žade of the tower could combust. He said: “If the cladding cannot resist the spread of flames across the surface, it will vertically envelop the building.” That is exa…