Samsung Electronics is insisting that technology developers need to follow a set of ethical guidelines when creating new solutions. Doing so will ensure that those innovations are accessible to a wider range of people. For example, many elderly people still do not feel comfortable ordering things online, which means that they are not enjoying the full benefits of digital technology and their quality of life is suffering relative to those who are more familiar with the technology.
The same is true for people with disabilities, insofar as developers often fail to take physical and cognitive limitations into account. If providers want to create products that people will actually use, they need to make it easier for everyone to do so.
For Samsung, the call is part of a larger push toward corporate digital responsibility (CDR), which it describes as the development of inclusive products that protect the rights and improve the lives of the people who use them. In that regard, the company identifies Digital Detox, Balance, Guard, Wellness, and Safety as five values that promote people’s digital well-being.
It also argues that developers need to be fair, transparent, and accountable when dealing with AI in particular. Fairness means that AI solutions need to mitigate any form of bias, while transparency demands that companies be upfront about the collection and use of personal information.
For its part, Samsung indicated that it is trying to fulfill those principles with its own business. The company recently achieved a top ten ranking on the World Benchmarking Alliance’s (WBA) first Digital Inclusion Benchmark, which evaluates private companies for their contributions to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Digital inclusion and human rights are part of that evaluation, with Samsung receiving praise for developing products that improve digital literacy.
The GSMA released its own set of digital accessibility principles in December. Samsung, meanwhile, has partnered with Mastercard to make the Pay on Demand platform more readily available to people in emerging markets.