What are Tech Ethicists, and Why Does the Wellness Industry Need Them?

The Global Wellness Institute suggests tech ethics experts to help negate the negative impacts of technology on wellness. // Photo Credit: grinvalds/iStock/Getty Images Plus

As technology’s impact on our society rises, so does the need for “tech ethicists,” or tech ethic experts to alleviate concerns around potential threats technology poses to our culture by helping us navigate what’s to come, according to the wellness experts in Global Wellness Institute’s (GWI) Digital Wellness Initiative.

“Serious questions are taking root around technology’s impact—and threat—to human culture,” said Jeremy McCarthy, initiative chair and global director of spa and wellness at Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group. “For example, is it ethical to use technology to modify the DNA of our children? Should we ask medical doctors to implant technology into our bodies to give ourselves superhuman abilities? Should the services we use be able to sell our data to third parties for profit?”

This is just one of five digital wellness trends to watch, according to the initiative. Beyond the ethics of what technology should be allowed to do, there is a growing consumer demand for more privacy and increased transparency from tech companies. Those who fail to answer these consumer demands are sure to lose users. 

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“We’ve spent most of the last century thinking about what we could do with technology. The answer seems to be clear: almost anything. Now, the question is what we should do with technology,” said McCarthy.

The group also predicts more tech companies will hire digital wellness experts to help develop and enhance their products to ensure they are not so disruptive to their users’ wellbeing that they lose market share. Users’ demand for transparency and privacy also is noted as a technological shift by the group. With recent Facebook scandals about this and the amount of power handed to corporate advertisers, consumers have begun to look for better and newer alternatives that offer greater transparency, privacy, and freedom from corporate advertisers

Despite this trend of wanting more privacy, the group still predicts the rise of wellness tech for both patients and physicians to manage personal wellbeing including diets, sleep patterns, emotional health, exercise programs, and mediation practices. The research claims that healthcare will be increasingly delivered via technology, and diagnosis will be increasingly performed by artificial intelligence.

Lastly, GWI claims that mindful meditation will rise in popularity in the same way yoga did. Mindfulness is the best approach we have for understanding algorithms of our mind, and ironically, technology will be the one to help solve the problem with apps and programs to help people develop mindfulness skills in a much more accessible way, according to the group.
 

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