Ask today’s business leaders about the ethical use of artificial intelligence (AI), and you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone against it. Ask them what they’re actually doing about it, and you may get a different answer or no answer at all.
No matter where you are on your AI journey, now’s the time to start thinking about the ethical implications of the technology, and to start doing something about it. This can begin by establishing a set of employee guidelines and educating your people on the importance of AI ethics and can evolve to more strategic initiatives that integrate ethical AI best practices into your development and workflows.
Why is this important?
All indications point to a world where the use of AI will start to fall under more watchful eyes, including governments and public watchdog groups. Just as personal data privacy came under scrutiny over the last few years, the way companies implement and use AI is garnering global attention due to its impact on human lives, jobs, and society.
Enter the European Union (EU)’s recent publication of new principles for developing ethical AI. The goal: Make the use of AI more “accountable, explainable and unbiased,” according to the EU. The guidelines focus on ensuring human oversight, accuracy, privacy, transparency, diversity, accountability, and sustainability. While not legally binding like the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the guidelines could pave the way for future regulation.
So, what specific actions can you take? A recent TechCrunch article on AI ethics provides some useful tips beyond honesty and transparency that can really make a difference, and contribute to long-term solutions. Take a look:
1. Establish Working Relationships with Public Sector Partners:
Advancing the ethical use of AI can begin in your local community, supporting programs at local schools that can also serve as platforms to educate people on AI overall. It’s also a great way to cultivate future talent.
2. Open Up Digital Literacy Opportunities for Kids
Supporting digital learning opportunities for children and young people “outside the realm of regular education” is another way to promote AI ethics. This may include assisting younger employees who may have an interest and the money to “opt-in” to additional education to evolve their skill sets around AI or even helping them learn more about potential AI job opportunities.
3. Proactively Retrain Technical and Developer Workforces
According to the TechCrunch article, business leaders must “empower executives and human resources with the tools, data and space to understand the evolving skill sets needed to work with AI in an ethical way.” Training the current and future workforce for a world where AI is a prominent part of the business is key to ensuring its adoption and overall success.
To learn more, check out this recent McKinsey Podcast on “The Ethics of Artificial Intelligence” and dig deeper into topics like deep learning and deep fakes.