TRENDS


ETHICS & AI

The rise of AI mandates a discussion on ethics. After all, the importance of creating an ethical framework as we navigate ever increasing technological advancements and AI's expanding reach cannot be under-played. Take Japan's latest news anchor, Erica-an android empowered robot. Such develpoments, alongside reactions of awe, invoke a sense of fear and discomfort in many people who view it as another step on the road to technological domination.

That being said, there are an increasing number of companies across sectors who are focused on integrating technology with ethics, fair play and social responsibility, with much of this trend driven by consumer expectations. This is in keeping with the shift in people's ideological framework as today's consumers increasingly prefer brands that have a voice on social issues and ethical business practices. Accordingly, the applications being built are geared towards working in conjunction with human principles.

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PHOTOGRAPHY

Shutterstock's latest AI capabilities prevent users from engaging in copyright infringement. The US based stock photography company allows for easy cross-referencing of a picture from the web with its database, to find a picture that is available to use and license. The extension uses AI features to help in the image searching process, allowing users to instantly find stock photos that are similar in aesthetic to the ones they discovered online.

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ONLINE

Aligning consumer values with spending habits, Impackt, a UK based adaptive design and print management company, has created a browser extension that pulls public data and new sources to support ethical purchasing. The extension connects ethical shoppers with companies that promote and produce products that are socially conscious and ethical in nature. Asshoppers browse products online, the extension employs public data to give specific recommedations on the selection, which includes background information about the company and its ethical practices. Users can customize the settings to indicate what ethical practices or features mean the most to them, impacting what data and recommendations are shown.

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FINANCE

Financial services provider, Aspiration, created a new kind of checking account that takes ethical lifestyle choices into consideration when it comes to day-to-day spending habits. The standout feature is their Aspiration Impact Measurement System (AIM), which is a rating system that collects data from various companies about how they treat their employees and environment. Users can track their AIM score which indicates their sustainability score, compare it with others, and essentially keep track of their ethical buying habits. The system also recommends companies and brands that promote ethical behavior. In essence, users can spend their money at brands that are in line with their personal ethics.

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EMPLOYMENT

Oxford-based start-up, MeVitae, is dedicated to removing bias in the hiring and recruitment process. The software sifts through applications in relation to job specifi cations, analyzing areas such as education and work experience, and cross-referencing with data from the web. MeVitae also removes sensitive information from applications that could result in discrimination around gender or ethnicity.