This post is originally published in Data Driven Investor.
“Ethics or moral philosophy involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong behavior. Ethics seeks to resolve questions of human morality by defining concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime.” This definition is the pith of “Ethical Blockchain”.
As the definition suggests, ethics are principles that govern people’s behavior. They guide people through situations, which are not always fair and square. Ethics helps people understand several fundamental questions critical for their decision-making. Are my actions beneficial or harmful to the world? What are my duties? How do I decide when my duties conflict?
Defining what constitutes ethical behavior is vital where there is human involvement. Even the field of technology, which is the synergy of people and machines, needs ethics. There are rampant discussions on the ethics for artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles. We come across opinions on what is considered ethics and what is not and who should be held responsible when machines err.
A.I. ethics are much talked about today. But what about Blockchain, another emerging technology? Is there a need to define ethics for an ecosystem dominated by self-executing smart contracts? Do we need an “Ethical Blockchain”? Rhys Lindmark, head of community and long-term societal impact at MIT’s Digital Currency Initiative says “Like other “tech ethics” fields, the field of blockchain ethics should examine what the technology is capable of doing, and ponder the potential consequences.” He reckons, the impact of the absence of ethics in Blockchain is many-fold.
Blockchain is a leaderless system. It is prone to devolve into anarchy without ethical governance. It is vital to delineate ethical actions for such a decentralized ecosystem.
What forms an “Ethical Blockchain”?