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Responsible AI: Doing it the Right Way

By Dick Weisinger

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being adopted by large numbers of organizations, governments and businesses and is being applied with great success to a myriad of types of problems. But many worry that if AI technology is not properly monitored, it can be easily abused. There are currently few rules that govern the use of AI and issues like ethics, privacy, discrimination, and bias”.

Many businesses don’t feel a sense of responsibility. In fact, 43 percent of business owners, in response to a survey on AI ethics, say that beyond any existing regulations that they have no responsibility towards ethically managing their AI systems. Basically, the thinking is that if there is no law against doing something, and there is benefit to be gained, why not do it?

The problem is that AI technology is changing so fast that legislators are having problems keeping up with it, understanding it, and deciding the right way to police the technology without killing innovation.

Scott Zoldi, Chief Analytics Officer at FICO, said that “AI has the power to transform the world, but in my view, as the popular saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility.”

Many are speaking out or speaking up to be critical of how AI is currently being applied.

Big banks speak to it… Dan Jermyn, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) chief decision scientist, said that “the pace, scale, and sophistication of AI solutions mean we need to ensure we are constantly evolving to meet the demands of new technology, which is why collaboration with our partners across government and industry is so important.”

Former Google/Big-Tech AI researchers criticize… Margaret Mitchell, former AI researcher fired by Google, said that “if you do believe in foresight, then it should become part of what you do before you make the product. I think right now, AI ethics is at a stage where it’s seen as the last thing you do, like a policing force or a block to launch. But if you’re taking it seriously, then it needs to be hand in hand with development as a tech-positive thing to do.”

And, the US military promises… Lloyd Austin, US Defense Secretary, said that “in the AI realm, as in many others, we understand that China is our pacing challenge. We’re going to compete to win, but we’re going to do it the right way. So our use of AI must reinforce our democratic values, protect our rights, ensure our safety, and defend our privacy. Of course, we understand the pressures and the tensions. And we know that evaluations of the legal and ethical implications of novel tech can take time.” China may be adopting AI to retain better control over citizens, but Austin says the the US military will “do it the right way”.

Andrew Ng, Stanford Professor and AI thought leader, wrote that “companies that pay attention to ethics — in AI and elsewhere — will reap rewards in the form of better products, happier customers, and greater fairness and justice in the world.”

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