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Friday, August 9, 2019

Advice for technologists on promoting AI ethics

Joe McKendrick
www.zdnet.com
Originally posted July 13, 2019

Ethics looms as a vexing issue when it comes to artificial intelligence (AI). Where does AI bias spring from, especially when it's unintentional? Are companies paying enough attention to it as they plunge full-force into AI development and deployment? Are they doing anything about it? Do they even know what to do about it?

Wringing bias and unintended consequences out of AI is making its way into the job descriptions of technology managers and professionals, especially as business leaders turn to them for guidance and judgement. The drive to ethical AI means an increased role for technologists in the business, as described in a study of 1,580 executives and 4,400 consumers from the Capgemini Research Institute. The survey was able to make direct connections between AI ethics and business growth: if consumers sense a company is employing AI ethically, they'll keep coming back; it they sense unethical AI practices, their business is gone.

Competitive pressure is the reason businesses are pushing AI to its limits and risking crossing ethical lines. "The pressure to implement AI is fueling ethical issues," the Capgemini authors, led by Anne-Laure Thieullent, managing director of Capgemini's Artificial Intelligence & Analytics Group, state. "When we asked executives why ethical issues resulting from AI are an increasing problem, the top-ranked reason was the pressure to implement AI." Thirty-four percent cited this pressure to stay ahead with AI trends.

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