Salford Business School

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Blog and Review

Review: The rising tide of artificial intelligence and business automation: Developing an ethical framework


Scott A. Wright, Ainslie E. Schultz | Ryan Center for Business Studies, Providence College, Providence, RI 02908, U.S.A.


Summary of Paper

This paper highlights the achievements in robotics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and sensors while providing their connections, which now enable machines to automate activities, including tasks that rely on higher-level thinking, learning, emotion-sensing, and even disease detection. Additionally, this article is concentrating on the ethical issues of business and who will be affected. Furthermore, we can see the assessments related to ethical implications of business automation for stakeholders ranging from laborers to nations, in addition to defining the business automation and introducing a novel framework that integrates stakeholder theory and social contract theory.

According to the article, and based on the references, machines can match or outperform humans in a range of activities, including learning, tacit judgment, and emotion-sensing (James Manyika, et al., 2017). some even refer to these technological advancements as ushering in a fourth revolution1 (Schwab, 2016), while others warn that automation and AI may create economic stagnation Acemoglu & Restrepo, 2017; Keynes, 1930; Sachs & Kotlikoff, 2013). Additionally, as a concern, others advise that while automation and AI may improve the economy while, they may also exacerbate societal inequalities by reducing employment and wages (especially for the working and lower-middle classes) (Acemoglu & Restrepo, 2017; Autor, 2015; Executive Office of the President, 2016; Lankisch, Prettner, & Prskawetz, 2017). One of the points declared in the article was the impact of automation in spuring labor settings, altering how individuals work, and the types of jobs available to them (ex: automation could replace 47% of today’s occupations in as little as ten years).

I the next section, key stakeholders in the automation of business processes introduced, having in mind that the global firms are relying on automation to keep their competitive advantages. Stakeholder theory offers a useful tool to illuminate how increased reliance on automation may affect various parties, and the relationships companies share with these parties. Additionally, the concept of reciprocal of firms is discussed as the stakeholders can recognize their goodwill through the automation process.

Later, the related positions in the labor market, companies, governments, and consumers’ perspective, which can be fulfilled with the machine, is discussed. “A growing number of researchers warn that across multiple economic sectors, machines will replace human workers, leaving mass joblessness in their wake” (Brynjolfsson & McAfee, 2014; Frey & Osborne,2017;Sachs & Kotlikoff, 2013). Routine, Skill-based, and Social characteristics of a certain job are the criteria for a likelihood that automation will disrupt a particular profession.

Quality of the Research and The Research Method Item

The term Artificial Intelligence stated in the content of this article is a fascinating word, is painting the need for multi-disciplinary business basics to enable automation and increasing efficiency. Due to every day’s increase enthusiasm toward automation, specifically in several industries, the topic is a trend, and it is important.

The article is assessing the cultural and ethical impact of business automation, which “are defined as a technique, method, or system of operating or controlling business processes by mechanical or electronic means that replaces human labor” – (Nof, 2009). The authors introduced a “novel framework” that integrates stakeholder theory with social contract theory and highlights important implications and directions for future research.

In the statement of “In sum, middle-skilled jobs like clerical work and manufacturing are declining due to automation, but low- and high-skill jobs are increasing,” the results can be supported with a live population assessment to see how and how far the middle-skilled jobs have been disrupted. The statement is an important base that the author concluded and continued through the rest of the analytics and findings. (As previously discussed, companies stand to gain much through automation).(overemphasized)

For example, in the statement of “From another perspective, three variables will affect the immediacy and likelihood that automation will disrupt particular professions: the extent to which the position is (1) routine, (2) skills-based, and (3) social.” The jobs and their classifications [even assumptions] could be included to clarify the impact levels.

The levels of each stakeholder involved in business automation are not still clear. For example, from my perspective, companies are the starters but not the only once. Currently, companies are the main players in the industry and the development of technologies. Form the other hand, risk analysis and application of the theory of change [TOC] are studied deeply. Interesting findings and possible outcomes can be seen here.

The procedure and theory are discussed properly, and the reader can duplicate them. Lack of support data and information is noticeable. It is advised that the topic of AI and automation has not been fully supported and studied worldwide, but the utilization/presentation of available data as far as possible is recommended.

Quality of Presentation Item

Lack of visualization as one of the main channel of connection with the readers. as an example; “They cite that in the four largest world economies the U.S., Japan, China, and Germany the labor share, and specifically the share of corporate gross value-added paid to labor, declined by roughly 2—4 percentage points per decade during the 1975—2010 period.”

In general below are the recommendations:

  • Utilization of available Data and including the previous findings in the paper [fully or partically]
  • Proper visualization [lack of tables, figures, and numerical analytics is noticeable]
  • Labor, Firms, Society, government, and consumers are described as the main stakeholders of automation of business processes. Each one is studied properly but as a recommendation, combing the concept of business automation in consumers Vs. Governments can be interesting.
  • Definition of businesses and the effect of AI in each specific sector of businesses separately is missing

The paper is properly cited and referenced. While checking some of the references, it noticed that statements in this article are well supported.


Bialas, A., 2010. Intelligent Sensors Security. Sensors, 22 1, 10(1), pp. 822-859.

Huang, M. & Chen, Y., 2018. Guest editorial: Internet of things and intelligent devices and services. s.l.:Institution of Engineering and Technology.


Nof, S. Y., 2009. Automation: What It Means to Us Around the World. In: Springer Handbook of Automation. s.l.:Springer Berlin Heidelberg, pp. 13-52.

Schwab, K., 2016. The Fourth Industrial Revolution, by Klaus Schwab | World Economic Forum. [Online]
Available at:

Soni, N., Sharma, E. K., Singh, N. & Kapoor, A., 2020. ScienceDirect Artificial Intelligence in Business: From Research and Innovation to Market Deployment. Procedia Computer Science, Volume 167, pp. 0-000.

Wright, S. A. & Schultz, A. E., 2018. The rising tide of artificial intelligence and business automation: Developing an ethical framework.

Yurish Sergey Y Yurish, S. Y., n.d. Digital and Intelligent Sensors and Digital and Intelligent Sensors and Sensor Systems: Sensor Systems: Practical Design Practical Design Practical Design Practical Design, s.l.: s.n.