Ethical technology for a responsible future
Monday, June 7, 2021
Gabriella Obispa is a Master’s student majoring in Technology, Law and Ethics at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, while also completing a second Master of Arts in Gender and Diversity through The Free University of Brussels. She recently joined the RightBrains core team as an advisor on aspects related to law and ethics, and she bursts with enthusiasm and passion for this emerging topic within the field of technology.
After completing her Bachelor’s in Law at Erasmus University, Gabriella wanted to pursue a postgraduate programme that not only challenged her to think about the future of tomorrow, but also allowed her to express her own innate creativity: “At the time I was very nervous, because as a woman I’d never considered a career in technology. When you think about law, you’re really reproducing cases and law from the past. But with this program you’re in a field where you can be free, because nothing has been written yet. It’s so open and I was really intrigued. I thought, yes, I want to talk about tomorrow and I want to think about our future and how we can help design it, because it’s really important.”
Looking at her classmates, she was initially unsure whether the program would indeed be the right fit for her, but it was during her first class that she received confirmation of her future in technology: “I think it was during a lecture on Biotechnology where they were talking about the ethical dilemma regarding designer babies, and I thought, whoa, I think I have found my passion... It made me realise that legal doesn’t have to be boring anymore – it can be exciting and at the same time you can help ensure that the future is responsible, sustainable and inclusive.”
Don’t simply innovate to innovate
Gabriella believes that her experience with law and technology opens a wealth of opportunities for cross-pollination from other industries as well. “If you want to work in tech, but you don’t necessarily have the technical skills, there is a long line of different expertise required and you’re not restricted anymore. You’re your niche. The tech industry is expanding and the need for different perspectives and backgrounds is becoming more and more important.”
With her fresh outlook on the value that alternative perspectives can bring to the table, Gabriella wants to change the world: “If you involve anthropologists or people with a legal background, it can really help to highlight the importance of the ethical perspective. Don’t innovate to innovate, but innovate because you want to be responsible and sustainable and inclusive – that’s the goal!”
The impact on society should be considered first
Gabriella is currently writing her thesis on the topic of “data after death” with the goal of establishing a new legal framework that enforces a person’s last wishes regarding the fate of their data after they die: “Today, people can create VR’s and holograms of a person, and the question must be asked whether people who have passed wanted to be remembered in that way. How do you take their right to be forgotten into consideration and ensure that their data is erased if that was their wish?”
This is one of many social questions that Gabriella is trying to answer, and her ambition to drive the ethical transformation of the digital industry stems from a belief that ethics should be the very first consideration when creating new innovations: “Ethics should not be an afterthought – it should be the basis of everything. People need to think of the impact on society first.”
Diversity is the key
After she completes her Master’s, Gabriella wants to become a legal consultant in technology: “I want to look at companies and whether they are compliant with current legislations. I want to see if I can help them think about ethics and law and their impact on the future. When making a product, I want to help them make sure that that their privacy is in check, that AI doesn’t replace human touch and that they take multiple demographics into consideration.” For Gabriella, diversity much more than a box to be checked: “It’s the key to a world that will work for everyone.”
Meet Gabriella and other emerging digital talent like her by signing up to the RightBrains platform today.