BY ONOME AMUGE
Femi Falodun, the chief executive officer of ID Africa, a pan-African media, reputation management and marketing communications company, has called on professionals in the public relations sector to study new trends and critically interrogate how emerging technologies like AI, cryptocurrencies, web3, metaverse and others can enhance or mar the human experience.
Falodun made this submission during the recent unveiling of the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) Ethics Council’s 2022 Annual Perspective report.
The report, published by the world’s largest professional PR body, features insights from 30 global leaders, and explores the ethical challenges when engaging in the Metaverse, NFTs, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and other new technologies.
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In his contribution, Femi stated that PR practitioners who work in and around the web3 ecosystem must pay close attention to ethical issues in web3, in order to properly guide their stakeholders.
He also maintained that when PR practitioners stay adequately informed on the tech and remain people-centric, they will emerge as trusted partners for governments, web3 builders and society of users, helping them to find and communicate the best ways that the technologies can enrich the human experience.
He added that many of the concerns about web3-related technologies are the ambiguity about what is right or wrong.
“A key concern with web3 is sustainability. According to Digiconomist, Bitcoin mining generates up to 96 million tonnes of CO2 emissions yearly, while Ethereum mining produces 47 million tonnes. The Bitcoin network also produces 30,000 tonnes of electronic waste per year. Although proponents are introducing new methods that are less energy-intensive, it is expected that crypto’s carbon footprint will continue to increase as adoption grows.
“The biggest ethical concerns with AI include racial bias from robots, inequality in the distribution of wealth created by robots, cybersecurity risks, robot rights, unemployment due to loss of jobs to machines, and the Singularity, fear that someday, humanity will lose control to complex intelligent systems,” he stated.
Speaking on the report, Mary Beth West, co-chair of the PRCA Global Ethics Council, said the council encourages members of the PR industry at every level of experience and practice, to embrace new areas of learning, awareness, and strategic consideration tied to the ethics of AI and how digital technology might be engaged in ways that potentially risk stakeholder trust and brand reputation.
On his part, Nitin Mantri, co-chair of the council, remarked that the 2022 report provides PR professionals with the tools to push their clients to be ethical and use every touch point as an opportunity to tell human stories that truly make an impact and build a deeper connection with the people the industry serves.