Ethical AI: Avoiding Pitfalls That Can Have Serious Ramifications on AI Transformation

The power of Artificial Intelligence has been discussed in the headlines in the past years – transforming numerous industries and creating huge economic value, especially for early adopters of the technology. From item and face recognition in photos, to automated closed captions, the scientific breakthroughs in AI are clear and have become intertwined in our everyday life – impacting how we shop, request a loan, apply for new jobs, and more. Yet, advancements in AI do not come free of potential errors, and these can be so harmful that they can overshadow the immense value that AI is capable of creating.

This harm could manifest in ways the world is already witnessing, from bias and discrimination such as a hiring algorithm preferring male candidates for potential jobs, to privacy and human rights issues stemming from data breaches where personal information of users was made public and shared without their knowledge or consent. This is why it’s crucial to understand the ethical implications of using – and misusing – AI, and preventing such potential harm from occurring.

The Responsibility for Ethical AI 

The discussion surrounding ethical AI has led to a debate on who is responsible for preventing these potential problems:

  1. Developers – During the design and development phases should be aware not to incorporate biases in the technology 
  2. Tech companies – Set up a responsible AI development framework within the organization, as well as hire the developers and need to avoid a built-in lack of diversity in hiring that could affect potential biases 
  3. Enterprises – The consumers of the AI solution are responsible for understanding the potential risks of the technological applications since they have the most to lose 
  4. Regulators – More often than not, lag behind advancements in technology, failing to put in place rules and guidelines to work by 

According to research done by Capgemini, the implementation of ethical AI is already impacting the bottom line, with consumers likely to reward organizations that practice ethical AI, or are perceived as practicing ethical AI, with greater loyalty and more business, and punish non-ethical companies with more complaints and lower engagement.

Companies that already realize the importance and potential impact of ethical AI, have established an Ethics Board or Committee, with the mandate to spot and remove biases and ethical issues across the model lifecycle, before reaching the final product. However, this is still far being the norm: according to FICO’s State of AI Report, only 22% of AI leaders say their enterprise has an AI ethics board, with most thinking of Ethical AI as an impediment to new innovations. What’s more, an ethics board or ethics officer can help but are simply not enough – a wider ‘ethics by design’ approach is needed.  This approach aims to integrate a framework dealing with matters of ethics in all parts of the organization and all stages of development – from defining goals to assigning responsible educators and training staff and stakeholders, as well as integrating an ethical approach in HR with reviews and awareness of the importance of diverse recruiting, and documenting every process, decision, and outcome along the way.

New call-to-action

The BeyondMinds Ethics Committee 

BeyondMinds’ goal is to ensure that our AI solutions deliver sustainable value to enterprises across industries and tackle use cases in real world environments – without amplifying existing biases and discriminations. For this purpose, we have set up an Ethics Committee comprised of members from different teams in the organization, from product to marketing, legal, CISO and HR, as well as a combination of both technical and non-technical individuals to ensure diversity. In addition to their important role within the committee, they are also ‘agents of change’ for the organization.

The committee defines guidelines for a responsible AI framework throughout the company and aims to build an end-to-end AI system where all the different decision-making stages are transparent and explained to ensure clarity and trust among our customers. Our Ethics Committee examines and discusses solutions across all stages of the production lifecycle – starting at the stage of creating a solution design and training the model, to the development stage where it is ensured that edge use cases are being considered and accounted for, and finally in the production stage where there is constant monitoring to identify data drifts and model performance that could imply biases within the system, potentially derailing the model.

Our ethics committee is preparing to adhere to any upcoming regulations in the field of AI. We are closely monitoring progress being made in the area of regulation, specifically from the European Commission, who recently published their draft AI regulations in April 2021. This draft represents a first attempt at creating a uniform legal framework detailing the development and use of AI. Once adopted by the European Parliament and the member states of the EU, these regulations will directly affect providers as well as consumers of AI systems on a global scale.

Need to solve core business problems with customized AI solutions?
See how you can solve individual use cases or achieve a company-wide AI transformation using one platform and gain a competitive advantage.