Why digital ethics matter
We increasingly use and develop new digital and data-driven technologies, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. The collection and processing of data by algorithmic systems affects how every single one of us lives and works. In its wake: a whole new set of ethical questions. Regulatory frameworks are expected to be developed in the future. At the moment, however, legislation in this critical area is limited. Digital ethics is still a young field.
At our company, we want to take a pioneering role. We believe that digital technologies require reliable ethical standards and that these standards should guide our daily business in the digital age. That’s why we have created a dedicated Digital Ethics Group, our Digital Ethics Advisory Panel and our Code of Digital Ethics.
Digital ethics at our company
In anticipation of the ethical challenges of digitalization, our company has issued a digital ethics mandate. This mandate is driven by our values and long-established bioethical approach, which has consistently enabled us to develop breakthrough innovations based on sound ethical considerations. Since 2020, we have embedded a dedicated digital ethics group within our organization.
This group enables our sectors and businesses to operate from a solid ethical position. With the help of the Digital Ethics Advisory Panel (DEAP) and the CoDE, we thus enable responsible innovation and digital business models.
We aim to position ourselves as the “digital ethics company”, meeting rigorous ethical standards in critical areas such as the handling of health data.
The Digital Ethics Advisory Panel builds on our experience with our Ethics Advisory Panel for Science and Technology. It follows a similar concept and unites renowned academic and industry experts in digital ethics, law and regulation, big data, digital health, medicine, and data governance from the US and Europe.
The DEAP is appointed by the Executive Board. Panel members act as advisors – they assess complex ethical challenges related to data and AI and subsequently provide independent guidance. All employees may submit topics to the DEAP.
The panel members act as advisors, provide assessment and independent guidance on complex ethical questions in the areas of data and artificial intelligence.
Prof. Effy Vayena
Bio & Digital Ethicist, ETH Zürich
Dr. Esther Bleicher
Integral Health, ex-FDA Regulatory Affairs
Dr. George Demetri
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Clinical Oncology
Dr. John Baldoni
Ex-GSK AI in Drug Discovery
Dr. John Halamka
Mayo Clinic, ex-CIO Harvard University AI in Healthcare
Dr. Kadija Ferryman
Cultural Anthropologist, John Hopkins University
Prof. Jeremy Sugarman
Johns Hopkins University, Bioethics and Medicine Guest Advisor, Bioethics
Chief Data & AI Oﬃcer; Data & AI Organization, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany
VP, Patient Experience Cancer Support Community Guest Advisor, Patient perspective
At our company, people are at the center of everything we do. Our goal is to create digital innovations that have a positive impact. That's why we've developed our Code of Digital Ethics. This code results from a scientific analysis and evaluation, described and published in a peer-reviewed paper. It goes beyond applicable laws and regulations and serves as a moral compass. The CoDE comprises five core principles: autonomy, justice, beneficence, non-maleficence, and transparency.
It enables us to assess the ethical aspects of data use and algorithms in digital products and business models and make responsible decisions. The CoDE also forms the basis for the Digital Ethics Advisory Panel evaluation of ethical issues related to our digital efforts.
The practical implementation of Digital Ethics
Want to learn more?
We expect each and every employee to take responsibility and ethically handle data and digital activities. That’s why we have developed a mandatory training, which is anchored within the individual training plans. Want to learn more? Then take our Advanced Digital Ethics Training and share it!Go to training More info
Curious about digital ethics? Here are the full guidelines and some additional resources.