Ethical Use of AI in the Enterprise

Artificial intelligence is one of the most powerful emerging technologies, with the ability to transform how organizations automate and simplify business processes and establish closer relationships with consumers. However, the collaborative intelligence of humans and machines also poses a variety of challenges for adopters regarding the potential ethical consequences of irresponsible systems if data is mismanaged.

What is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial intelligence (AI) abstractly refers to the functional capability of machines to mimic human behaviors and human intelligence, which covers several different subsets of technology such as machine learning, robotic process automation, and natural language processing. Researchers believe the revolutionary capabilities of AI will be especially valuable to businesses, particularly when applied to operational efficiencies and automated business processes, and many organizations have already begun investing heavily in various AI systems.

More Human than Machine

One of the most common misconceptions regarding artificial intelligence is that its ground-breaking technologies are almost entirely machine. However, a cornerstone of AI adoption in the enterprise actually emphasizes the need for human training, from initial deployment to ongoing function. It’s when humans and machines work in tandem that their symbiotic relationship positions a business for efficient long-term growth.

Designing human-centric artificial intelligence begins with a human-centric leadership philosophy. Hiring, recruiting, and placing the right people into positions who understand the ethical responsibility and the technology’s potential effect on the greater good is crucial to the successful deployment of artificial intelligence. Instructors who coach the AI on how to act and perform tasks, translators who help organizational leadership understand the technology’s inner workings and algorithms, and the guards who ensure the artificial intelligence is functioning within established guidelines are all integral human components to AI systems.

Ethical Concerns of AI

The collaborative intelligence of humans and machines poses several ethical challenges and questions that adopters will grapple with over the coming decades as the technology proliferates. Since humans are the ones responsible for managing and sustaining AI technology, our human flaws, biases, and demographic differences will inevitably impact the design and performance of AI systems. We have already seen a number of ethical issues arise. Problems surrounding deepfakes and other manipulated digital media, the biases found in facial recognition systems, and personalization tools that track and target consumers for highly specific personal advertising are all examples of ethically dubious applications of artificial intelligence. But the ethical issues are merely an extension of human shortcomings and can be remedied with a cautious, measured, and conscious approach to AI implementation.

Taking on the Challenge of AI

By accepting the complexities and challenges that come with ethical AI adoption, organizations are already making progress toward designing a human-centric strategy that may take years to develop. With such high stakes, organizations benefit from external experts who can lead the process of establishing internal guidelines for ethical AI strategies. Companies can pave the way for sustainable, scalable, and responsible growth by employing the right tools, teams, and mindset toward artificial intelligence.