AI Summit Austin 2022: IBM’s AI Designer on the Critical Human Element

Ethical AI does not start with code; it’s the people behind it

Ben Wodecki

November 7, 2022

2 Min Read

Trustworthy AI is not coded or developed but birthed from views and inputs from a diverse team behind it, said IBM’s Adam Cutler.

Speaking at IoT World and AI Summit in Austin, the distinguished AI designer shared his views on the importance of humans in the loop when developing AI systems.

“We have to balance focusing our attention on the code and move the human, at the end of this AI, into focus,” he said.

Cutler’s role at IBM sees him advise internal teams and external clients on AI design. He also is responsible for creating the body of work that guides the company’s 3,000-plus designers on designing artificial intelligence responsibly and ethically.

“We have to do it ethically, we have to do responsibly,” he said. “That means design has to be involved at all stages that artificial intelligence is created.”

According to Cutler, AI designers should put the user at the center of their work to ensure success.

“Ultimately, even if artificial intelligence does what it is supposed to do based on how we design it and how we expect it to work, if it doesn't meet the user's needs, it could be a failure,” he said. “And for the amount of time, effort, and blood, sweat and tears that we put into creating AI, you cannot fail at the finish line.”

He implored AI developers to employ diverse teams, describing it as a “critical” need for developing responsibly.

“We have to have a multitude of points of view, within the effort itself. And there has to be restless reinvention. If there isn't a desire to learn as we go along, to build upon understandings, it's very difficult to get something that isn’t riddled at the end,” said Cutler.

“Ethics responsibility is not just another form of a technical problem. This is something that we have to have as a discussion throughout the lifetime of an AI, from the time that we scribbled something on a whiteboard until the time we sunset.”

About the Authors

Ben Wodecki

Assistant Editor

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