Jason Thacker on 4 Ethical Issues in Technology to Watch for in 2022

For the past few years, I have had the opportunity to highlight some of the top ethical issues in technology to be aware of as we begin each new year. In 2021, I wrote about the concerning trends of content moderation – especially with regard to free speech and religious freedom in the digital public square – as well as the growing concerns over facial recognition technologies and the ongoing debate over personal privacy. While many of these same issues will likely carry over into 2022, some have given way to larger concerns about pervasive surveillance, in addition to the threat of digital authoritarianism around the world.

For all of the good uses of technology, it has profound and consequential effects on us as humans. It shapes us in particular ways, including how we see and engage with those around us. While many today are reframing what it means to be human, Christians know that every person is created in God’s image and has inherent dignity. Furthermore, we know that our identity is rooted in God our Creator and that we are to love Him and love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:37-39). This question of human identity is a central to many of the top ethical issues of the day, especially in our technologically rich society.

If 2021 taught us anything, it is that we need to take these particular ethical issues seriously. The church needs to understand that technology is becoming one of the primary disciplers of our people, forming us in ways that we may never fully understand. In light of these realities, here are four of the top issues to keep an eye on in 2022.

Content moderation and free speech

Of all of the issues our society faces today in terms of technology, there is widespread agreement across partisan lines that content moderation is one of the most consequential debates today, even if that agreement only consists of an acknowledgement that the current state of things is not sustainable in the long term. Some argue that technology companies need to moderate more content – especially around fake news, misinformation, and hate speech – while others argue that these companies are simply suppressing certain types of speech that they disagree with on ideological grounds and acting as unaccountable “moderators” in the open marketplace of ideas.

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Source: Baptist Press