AI ethics and the business of trust
Artificial Intelligence

AI ethics and the business of trust

According to figures released earlier this month from the Capgemini Research Institute, ethical AI is not just a major concern for consumers (74 percent), it could also impact customer loyalty. If a business can show ethical AI use, 62 percent of consumers would place higher trust in that company. By contrast, 41 percent said they would complain over misuse of AI and 34 percent would stop interacting with a company if its AI use was unethical.

It's not wholly unsurprising research but it does raise the whole issue of trust. It also raises the point of what is deemed ethical, when it comes to AI use. Who decides? Businesses, consumers, governments, academics or a mash-up of all of them?

Interestingly, the Capgemini research also revealed that 74 percent of consumers want more transparency when a service is powered by AI, and over three quarters think there should be further regulation on how companies use AI.

For Christopher Manning, a professor of computer science and linguistics at Stanford University and director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, this increasing call for clarity with AI is to be expected. Manning, who also works closely with Chetan Dube at IPsoft on the development of its cognitive agent Amelia, has been instrumental in setting up the Stanford Institute for Human-Centred AI.

"One of the leading ideas is that a lot of these questions about ethics and bias need a broader expertise," he says. "It's not just about computer scientists dictating the direction and what is and isn't ethical. Humanists and social scientists have experience and expertise in these areas, so we need a broad range of people engaged in the conversation."

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Marc Ambasna-Jones

Marc Ambasna-Jones is a UK-based freelance writer and media consultant and has been writing about business and technology since 1989.

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