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Digital ethics, a new field of work

What is the role of digital ethics at armasuisse? To what extent is digital ethics taken into consideration in the business activities? What impact do the latest developments in digitalisation have on digital ethics? These and other questions were put to employees from various different competence sectors at armasuisse as part of a qualitative survey. You can read in the article below about the attitude towards the issue of digital ethics within armasuisse and how armasuisse positions itself in it.

Lucas Ballerstedt, specialist area Communications, competence sector Resources and Support

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Advances in digitalisation raise the question of digital ethics

Digitalisation brought with it new areas of responsibility. This also includes digital ethics, which deals with topics such as information protection, privacy, sustainability and artificial intelligence. The basic building block for this is digitalisation. There is no digital ethics without digitalisation. This leads to new challenges, because, as with digitalisation, digital ethics conceals both opportunities and risks. In order to specifically advance digital ethics, a common understanding of digitalisation must first be developed. Only then can measures be taken.

Digital ethics at armasuisse

In the sensitive environment in which armasuisse moves, ethics, including digital ethics, is of major importance. The Federal Office for Defence Procurement is currently undergoing a digital transformation process. The Covid-19 pandemic contributed to rapidly accelerating digitalisation at times. Processes had to be reconsidered and revised based on the protection concept and mandatory home workplace rules in order to maintain business operations. A basic ethics policy is not yet in place. Nevertheless, there are many guidelines which indirectly support and consolidate ethics. For example, guidelines on data and information protection or gender-sensitive language. Even within the Federal Office, several areas are currently dealing with the topic of digital ethics and its implementation. A central contact point is currently not yet available. For example, in cooperation with the University of Zurich and the University of St. Gallen, an ethics evaluation scheme has been developed specifically for the Swiss Drone and Robotics Centre (SDRC). It is intended to be used in future to make an informed assessment and address ethical risks in the procurement of robotic systems. Digital ethics is also a topical issue at department level and will continue to be addressed in the future.

Digital ethics as a driver of corporate culture

Ethics is an indirect part and driver of corporate culture. Digital ethics will thus also have an impact on the corporate culture. To this end, the issue must be actively addressed and implemented. Ethics reflect the basic attitude and mind-set of a company on certain issues. It is thus entirely possible that corporate ethics as a whole can have an impact on the role as employer. Digital ethics is expected to have a direct impact both on the corporate culture as well as the perception of employees and citizens on armasuisse. Digitalisation and digital ethics will continue to gain in significance and will be included increasingly in business activities.