November 5, 2020 Vinay Paudel

Why AI needs an Ethical Compass

Sama Workday Services

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are being widely adopted by enterprises worldwide due to the notable changes that they are already bringing. AI-powered applications are increasing operational efficiencies and improving decision-making with access to more reliable insights that are data-driven.

However, along with the benefits that it presents it is essential to review the ethical aspects of using AI. A significant point to note is that AI-powered applications still need the help of humans to make more informed decisions. Therefore, unlike what many believe, AI cannot replace humans in an organization. The key to the successful utilization of AI-powered tools in the decision-making process lies in building trust, which can only be achieved if companies take responsibility and follow ethical practices when using AI and ML.

How does an organization develop an ethical compass for ensuring that AI is responsibly used without compromising on privacy, security and trust?

These guidelines will help.

Prioritizing People
The purpose of AI is not to supplant human decision-makers in the organization. Therefore, when adopting AI, the focus should be on how it can support or assist people rather than replace them. Can it help in improving the efficiency of a specific task or business process? Can AI present better data-driven insights that employees can use to strengthen or improve the decisions that they make?
Once the benefits of AI are identified, it’s essential to communicate with the employees who will use the AI-powered applications to inform and reassure them of the benefits and outcomes. It’s also necessary to put in place a reskilling program to address the concerns of employees who are not familiar with the technology. It will help them not only to understand how AI works but also to contribute to the implementation by providing inputs that add value to the process.

Protecting Data
Nowadays, most companies have a large amount of data collected from multiple sources. However, just because the data is available, it doesn’t mean that it should be used. Some of the data might be sensitive, and so, when implementing AI, clear policies should be in place to define the purposes for which the data can or cannot be used by AI or ML applications.

Building Trust with Customers
Whenever data is collected from them, most customers will ask how the data will be used and seek reassurance that their privacy will not be compromised. Additionally, some of them might want to know how AI-powered applications will enhance their experience. In contrast, others might be apprehensive about the loss of human contact with the people with whom they interact in the organization. The best way to build customers’ trust is by being transparent about the process and demonstrating how AI can benefit them.

Following an Ethical Approach
Laying down guidelines for the ethical use of AI is just the first step in the process. Well-defined processes should be put in place to ensure compliance so that the entire organization aligns with the ethical compass. Additionally, regular reviews should be undertaken to assess the effectiveness of the processes as well as to review the principles, especially when implementing new technology or processes. Further, regulatory compliances and industry best practices should be incorporated from time to time.

The goal of AI is to help companies enhance the experience for their employees and customers. Therefore, it is essential to focus on how it can be achieved and to understand how AI-powered tools will contribute towards it without compromising on ethics.

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