by Sarah Tierney
LONDON – AI has the power to majorly disrupt industries, inject value into the economy, and change the nature of work. Because of this, it’s important that we have an ethical approach to AI. It must be bias-free, accountable, transparent, and protect the data it owns.
The question we must ask is not what AI can do, but what it should do.
At Microsoft, we believe taking a human-centred approach is important for AI. It isn’t designed to replace us. It’s designed to extend our capabilities, allowing us to be more creative and innovative.
It’s exciting to have AI help us achieve more, and the UK market has the unique opportunity to build with an ethical foundation.
We believe that AI technology should embody these four principles:
Become a ‘should’ company
AI has great potential to assist humanity, but not all things should – or need to be – automated.
Companies that figure out the ‘should’, outperform the ‘can’ companies by 10 percent. They’re 13 percent more likely to ensure responsible use and 22 percent more likely to have a culture of transparency.
But what does a ‘should’ company look like? They’re more likely to have ethical guidelines and a culture of transparency between leaders and employees. They’re also more likely to invest in training and development, making work more meaningful.
If you start your AI journey with clear values and ethics, you are 28 percent more likely to seek to improve the world. A recent study by Edelman revealed that nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of consumers will now choose, switch, avoid or boycott a brand based on its stance on societal issues. This number has increased by a remarkable 13 points since 2017, showing that taking a stand is becoming even more important. With consumers being more mindful about where they spend their money, taking an ethical stance will be a positive reputation changer.
Take inspiration and information from the world around you. The Alan Turing Institute is a good place to start for ideas on how you can use intelligent technology for positive impact.
Think about how you can use intelligent technology for positive impact
Can you match AI to the current values/ethics of your company? Think about how it could affect every area of your business. An ethics committee is a great way to address issues or come up with your organisation’s stance. Fill the committee from different parts of the business – only 51 percent of employees trust their organisation to use AI responsibly.
By being willing to hear from everyone, it shows that you value a democratic, open culture. Clarifying values and ethics openly shows you are taking a positive stance on how you plan to use AI to help humans.
Transparency is important – both in the workplace and outside, too. AI still attracts some scaremongering headlines, especially around the way data is used or how it works. How can you gain trust with your employees and customers? Bring them on the journey with you so they know how their data is being protected.
“The big challenge for anybody looking to use AI, is building trust. People who give their data to the kind of infrastructure we are developing are inherently cautious about how the data is going to be used and who is going to have access to it.” – Richard Tiffin, Chief Scientific Officer, Agrimetrics.
AI truly shines when it’s used to make our jobs easier. Start your journey today and free up your employees to invest their time in more meaningful work.
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Sarah Tierney is a Digital Storyteller for Microsoft UK