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Bridging the Confidence Gap in Responsible and AI Ethics

by Hemanta Banerjee, VP, Public Cloud Data Services, Rackspace Technology

While the use of AI is booming, employee confidence in the technology is moving slower. Today, only four in 10 workers believe that AI will have a positive impact on your jobs, according to a study by Robert Half, an employment recruitment agency. Worker attitudes vary by occupation and age group. This finding points to a challenge in AI adoption called the confidence shift. It speaks to the fact that while the potential of AI is inexhaustible, the way organizations wield this power is crucial. And many workers do not yet feel confident that AI will be used responsibly.

This confidence shift is not just about having faith in AI’s capabilities. It’s about embracing trust that AI applications will be used ethically and responsibly. This is a good time to step back and examine the intersection of technology and social responsibility when it comes to using generative AI and wielding it to drive transformative change. 

a person looking at a computer

Responsible AI is a social imperative

Generative AI, which is a subset of AI, has witnessed remarkable advancements in recent years. Generative AI technologies range from text generation models like ChatGPT to image-synthesis technologies like DALL·E. These generative AI models enable machines to produce content, including text, images and applications, that closely resemble human-made work.

However, along with the power to create and transform businesses, generative AI comes with profound responsibilities. For example, while the technologies can generate content that, in some cases, is indistinguishable from what a human can produce, they’re also capable of being misused. This can lead to misinformation and ethical dilemmas — all of which can perpetuate workers’ lack of confidence in the technologies.

Making the shift in confidence

The confidence shift is about transforming not just workplace operations with AI, but also workers’ confidence in using these technologies. Rather than expecting blind trust, it’s vital to foster informed confidence by instilling a strong culture of responsible AI use.

In other words, the goal should be to go beyond the hype of all the amazing things that AI can do, and carefully assess how it should be used in ways that are ethical and responsible. AI ethics and responsible use of generative AI needs to be grounded in principles like transparency, fairness and accountability.

Championing AI ethics

To instill greater confidence in AI within the workplace, organizations, developers and practitioners must champion a culture grounded in ethical and responsible use. Our recent research with The Data Warehousing Institute (TDWI) examined the key principles of responsible and ethical AI implementation as a way to foster greater confidence in its use:

    1. Transparency: To avoid the black box effect, organizations should be transparent in their use of AI, openly communicating when AI systems are at play.
    2. Fairness: To stay away from biases and help ensure equitable outcomes for all individuals, AI systems should be trained on diverse and representative datasets.
    3. Accountability: To understand who is responsible when issues arise, clear liability must be established in AI systems.
    4. User education: To promote responsible consumption of AI-generated content, end users need to be educated about AI systems and their capabilities.
    5. Regulations: To prevent misuse and ensure compliance, organizations must advocate for the creation of ethical regulations and guidelines regarding AI use.

The transformative capabilities of AI

When AI is harnessed responsibly, the possibilities are seemingly endless. AI can streamline processes, enhance productivity and help create innovative solutions. Businesses can use generative AI to automate content creation, augment customer service and even generate new product ideas. For example:

    • In healthcare, AI can help diagnose diseases earlier, improving patient outcomes.
    • In education, AI-powered tutoring systems can personalize learning experiences.
    • In most industries, AI can boost productivity through expanded technology reusability and adaptability, supporting a model of reuse and versatility for adjacent tasks with minimal rework or fine-tuning. 
    • In data analytics, generative AI can reduce reliance on manual training data labeling, enabling automated generation of SQL and Python code, as well as the creation of sample and synthetic datasets, visualizations, summary statistics and other outputs to streamline data analytics tasks.  

One of the most potent drivers of generative AI is gaining the ability to enhance the value of enterprise applications. Generative AI tools can expand the horizons of machine-learning-driven application intelligence because they can achieve newfound capabilities not previously available to developers. For example, they can integrate billions of parameters, which can enable the detection of more expansive and subtle statistical patterns in vast datasets.   

The road ahead for responsible AI

By adhering to ethical and responsible principles, organizations can harness the transformative capabilities of generative AI for both the betterment of their businesses and the betterment of society.

The role of data and analytics professionals isn’t just to leverage AI to generate data-driven insights and accelerate product development, but also to champion its responsible and ethical use. By combining technology with social responsibility, we can ensure that the confidence shift is both a shift in  both how AI transforms our world and in workplace trust.

The mandate to embrace responsible and ethical adoption of AI shouldn’t be viewed as a limitation, but as a path to integrating AI solutions that are secure, sustainable and symbiotic.

What’s more, when businesses establish an ecosystem with the right technology partners, they benefit from the trust-transfer phenomenon, in which their trustworthiness is enhanced among consumers. This means that it’s imperative for businesses to be visible on platforms that have already earned consumer trust.

Read our latest TDWI Insight Accelerator research, “What Every Data and Analytics Professional Should Know.”