Artificial intelligence (AI) is a hot topic in
the business world — and for good reason.
When leveraged effectively, AI can save time,
pad profit margins, and reduce the risk of human error. AI can also help your
business take advantage of unwieldy data sets, which can improve the veracity
of your business decision-making.
But, with great power comes great
responsibility — particularly for business leaders. You must balance the
potential benefits of AI utilization against the ethical concerns of your consumers.
Using AI for Innovation
AI has permeated almost every industry. Today, 55% of Americans say they use artificial intelligence at least once per week. This makes sense, as even basic programs like ChatGPT are capable of answering complex queries, generating ideas, and creating content for marketing teams.
However, AI can do far more than answer FAQs and respond to customer queries. For example, in the food industry, AI has the potential to revolutionize the way we conceptualize production, quality assurance, and sales. AI-led food-tech innovations include:
- Computer-controlled irrigation
- Smart sensors to detect spoiled
- Automated shipping and packaging
- Standardized quality during
Other industries can benefit from AI-led innovations, too. For example, folks who work in real estate can use AI to predict fluctuations in market prices, identify potential risks, and market their properties. This is particularly important today, as market volatility has put a premium on agility, innovation, and responsiveness.
Ethics for AI-powered Tools
AI tools can give you the upper hand in competitive markets. However, you may find that implementation comes at a cost as AI is a double-edged sword. Some consumers are wary of artificial intelligence, and some may raise valid concerns about the use of automated tools. Some of the common ethical concerns of AI include:
- Bias: AI models are trained on
data that may include harmful biases. Some natural language processing models
also reflect user prejudices, which may undermine consumer trust.
- Misinformation: AI algorithms are
complex echo chambers. This means they may inadvertently share hoaxes and
conspiracies if they aren’t trained correctly.
- Data privacy: Consumers deserve to
keep their data private. However, AI models use a vast amount of personal data
to generate well-informed responses.
- Intellectual property: Some
content creators and writers claim that AI has plagiarized their work. Proving
plagiarism may be tricky, but there’s no doubt that language models use the
work of original authors without attribution.
Some consumers may also prefer human-generated content over AI innovations. For example, tabletop game giant Wizards of the Coast recently landed in hot water after publishing AI-generated art in their resource book. This led to a backlash from fans who show a strong preference for artwork from real authors.
AI and Employees
Some employees may fear the widespread
adoption of artificial intelligence. Some may even fear that AI will take their
jobs, as complex machine learning programs are capable of completing tasks
associated with white and blue-collar careers.
In reality, AI is a tool that will help folks complete their daily tasks; not replace them. The rise of AI may create some jobs, too, as there is currently a greater need for trainers who can create bespoke AI programs.
In an ideal world, AI should decrease the risk
of burnout and increase employee leisure time. Automation can complete tedious
or monotonous tasks, too, leaving more time for critical thinking and
creativity. This may lead to lower staff absences, decreased turnover, and
improve work-life balance at firms that use tech to create a responsible
Artificial intelligence has the potential to
reshape the way we work. However, AI also poses ethical problems for business
leaders. Before rolling out a fleet of chatbots or automated robots, business
leaders need to be sure that the tech is warranted and will be well-received.
This will protect the firm’s brand reputation and ensure employees are open to
using the new programs.
Start by surveying staff to determine
sentiment at your business. This may also generate new ideas, as employees have
a hands-on understanding of the policies and procedures the firm follows. A
voluntary survey can help staff feel more involved in the decision-making
process and may mitigate resentment when they decide to buy a new chatbot.
Be clear about your use of artificial
intelligence when communicating with consumers. Most folks won’t have a problem
with your data collection program but may feel betrayed if you don’t give them
a choice to determine their preferences. Failing to notify consumers when using
their data may lead to legal issues, too, as falling afoul of the GDPR or CCPA
can be extremely costly.
AI has the potential to reshape the way
businesses around the globe operate. However, shaping a more efficient and
responsible future for your firm can be tricky. It’s easy to make missteps if
you’re unacquainted with the ethical debates surrounding AI today.
Protect your brand image and reduce the risk
of legal troubles by being as transparent as possible. This will reassure
employees that their jobs won’t be stolen by AI and can convince consumers to
share their data with you. You’ll also find that a transparent approach leads
to greater innovation, as folks at your firm will be eager to use AI if they
don’t think it poses a risk to their livelihood.