In the era of rapid technological advancement, companies (especially in the automation sector) play a pivotal role in shaping the ethical landscape of emerging technologies. This is particularly crucial when it comes to technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), which hold immense transformative potential. Let’s delve into how companies can define and meet ethical principles for these cutting-edge technologies.
Establishing Clear Ethical Guidelines
To be at the forefront of ethical innovation, companies must take the lead in establishing clear ethical guidelines. According to PwC’s Responsible AI Toolkit survey, only 25% of respondents said they would prioritise a consideration of the ethical implications of an AI solution before implementing it. One in five (20%) have clearly defined processes for identifying risks associated with AI, while over 60% rely on developers, informal processes, or have no documented procedures. These statistics underpin the clear lack of ethical frameworks for these emerging technologies.
Furthermore, Global AI leader of PwC US, Anand Rao, says: “AI decisions are not unlike those made by humans. In each case, you need to be able to explain your choices, and understand the associated costs and impacts. That’s not just about technology solutions for bias detection, correction, explanation and building safe and secure systems. It necessitates a new level of holistic leadership that considers the ethical and responsible dimensions of technology’s impact on business, starting on day one.”
Practical Application: Defining and Meeting Ethical Standards
Deloitte’s annual State of Ethics and Trust in Technology Report outlines 4 approaches on how companies can define and meet ethical standards when harnessing the transformative power of AI:
1. By meeting compliance and regulatory standards: The focus of this strategy is on functioning within legal, established limits that are minimally influenced by company values.
2. Following company culture: This approach to establishing ethical principles is based on company culture, which is described as the sum of formal and informal procedures, behaviours, and beliefs that all contribute to the creation of an experience for employees and consumers.
3. Following standards of conduct: The focus of this approach is on standards of conduct, which are described as guiding pillars that control an employee’s professional obligations. Avoiding discrimination, conflicts of interest, insider trading, bribery, and other widely unacceptable ethical activities are key considerations.
4. Defining specific ethical standards: In this approach, companies define and implement ethical standards that are unique to the firm, as well as the products and services developed and used.
Proactive Approach to Compliance with Standards
However, simply having ethical principles is not enough. Companies should promote these principles and proactively embed them in everyday operations. The dynamic nature of technology necessitates continuous monitoring and adaptation of ethical standards. Continuously educating and upskilling users with the knowledge to navigate the ethical aspects of AI is essential.
In conclusion, by setting ethical standards, integrating ethics into technology design, collaborating with stakeholders, continuously monitoring standards, and empowering users, it becomes easy to navigate the ethical landscape with a vision of shaping a responsible and sustainable future. In this rapidly evolving technological era, we believe that ethical leadership is not just a responsibility but a cornerstone for innovation that truly benefits humanity.