Should you be concerned about AI and Ethics?

Are robots taking over the world?

As a society and as humans, we’re fascinated by the possibilities offered by AI, but we’re also afraid of what we don’t know. It’s human nature to fear the unknown. But here’s the thing: We don’t have to make that unknown into something scary; instead, we can embrace it. We can build our AI with transparent algorithms that represent our own values. So how do we reach that place of clarity when there is so much grey?

Building Trust with Transparency

Frequently the villains of science fiction movies, AI machines are portrayed as half-human, half-robot creatures dead set on taking over the world. We all know this is a far cry from the current state of AI, but it impacts how people view artificial intelligence, which is often feared and seen as a threat. And though the plots of these movies are often farfetched, what is true is many have a genuine fear that AI will ‘take over’ their jobs and the economy.

To overcome this bias, you must build trust at all levels of your business and with outside stakeholders. Develop a clear strategy for top-down communication. Your clients may have questions about how your AI and its underlying algorithms work. Be prepared to answer them. Maintaining transparency while implementing AI will go a long way in building trust.

Facing Ethical Issues Head-On

Thankfully, typical uses of AI are much more benign than what we see in the movies. From online shopping to voice assistance, AI shapes our daily interactions with technology. In fact, AI-driven technology touches virtually every aspect of our lives — including how we do business.

Whether it’s hiring talent or closing business deals, the use of AI is growing in every field imaginable. So, if your industry doesn’t use AI yet, there’s a good chance it will soon. But, as an emerging and potentially disruptive tool, there are some ethical issues to address when using AI for your business.

Suppose you asked the average person about their concerns with AI. In that case, you’ll probably hear something regarding privacy, bias, and the most challenging question of them all, the role of human judgment on AI decision-making.

It would be easy to assume that decisions based on an algorithm would be free of human prejudice. But you would be wrong. Studies are discovering that algorithms can replicate the biases already present in our society. This is because of the conscious and unconscious prejudices of the program developers that build the datasets used to train the software.

AI is not automatically ethical just by virtue of being artificially intelligent. Instead, you must take steps to ensure your AI systems represent your values and stances. The best way to do this is by creating frameworks that continually assess current and planned AI models, check for bias, and protect user privacy.

How You Can Build Ethics in Your AI

Businesses that create and use AI must adhere to ethical standards. Building AI that aligns with your values isn’t a one-step process but should be continuous. You start with transparency by ensuring that your AI is explainable to stakeholders. Next, you check for and prevent unconscious biases from creeping into your algorithm. Finally, you develop a review process that regularly checks for errors.

But most importantly, aside from implementing ethical practices for your AI, you must use AI for the greatest benefit of the community and the world. At the end of the day, this is truly the only way to build ethical AI.

Signing off,

Moriah John

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