Human technology

Building ethical AI products can give businesses a competitive edge


A Ubtech Walker X robot plays Chinese chess during the 2021 World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) at the Shanghai World Expo Center on July 8, 2021 in Shanghai, China.

VCG | VCG via Getty Images

SINGAPORE – Ensuring that AI-based products and services are ethical and trustworthy could become a competitive advantage for businesses, experts said on Wednesday.

Artificial intelligence systems are already transforming businesses. They are able to automate repetitive tasks, analyze large volumes of data, recommend content, translate languages, and even play games.

But the current scope of things AI can do is relatively narrow. Some experts say the technology is far from becoming what is known as general artificial intelligence, or AGI – which indicates AI’s hypothetical ability to understand or learn any intellectual task a human can do.

But others have pointed out that even in its current and narrow capacities, AI raises a range of ethical questions, such as whether the data fed into AI programs is unbiased and whether AI can be held. responsible in case of problem.

To build reliable AI systems, there must be cooperation between countries and various stakeholders, according to Wonki Min, former deputy minister of South Korea’s Ministry of Science and Technology, who led the national strategy for ‘AI of the country.

This means working with neighboring countries as well as with industry experts, academics and ordinary people who use these technologies, Min said during a roundtable on AI governance at the Asia conference. Tech x Singapore.

The essentials to build trust

Experts have already warned that inherently biased AI programs can pose serious problems and can undermine people’s confidence in these systems. Facial recognition software, for example, can incorporate accidental racial and gender bias that can pose a threat to a particular group of people.

Confidence is fundamental to embracing and fully benefiting from any technology, said Andrew Wyckoff, director of science, technology and innovation at the OECD, who was on the panel.

Artificial intelligence creates a competitive force for the industry.

Ieva Martinkenaite

vice-president at Telenor Research

He pointed out that there are several “essential” elements to building confidence in AI systems. They include: being able to explain how a program works in a transparent way, ensuring that the program is robust, secure, safe and accountable.

Regulators face a difficult task of finding a balance in encouraging new developments in AI and managing the associated risks. Some researchers say it’s too early for policymakers to impose tough new rules on the technology.

For its part, the OECD Principles on AI promote artificial intelligence that is “innovative and trustworthy and respects human rights and democratic values”, and provides recommendations to policy makers and others. stakeholders.

A competitive advantage

According to Hiroaki Kitano, president and CEO of Sony Computer Science Laboratories, building reliable and ethical AI systems and the governance around them could potentially become a competitive advantage for businesses.

The Japanese conglomerate uses AI in a variety of its products, including cameras.

For Norwegian telecommunications giant Telenor, ethical AI is “a responsible business in the making”, according to Ieva Martinkenaite, vice president of Telenor Research. She stressed that many next-generation telecommunications networks will be driven by software embedded in AI and that the technology will be crucial for new growth opportunities.

This requires a set of global rules and trust principles built around AI that are followed not only by telecom companies, but also by the global vendors to whom they outsource part of their operations, according to Martinkenaite. Suppliers can include stakeholders such as equipment suppliers, software companies and service insurance companies, he added.

“Artificial intelligence creates a competitive force for the industry,” she said.

Wonki Min, currently president of the State University of New York, Korea, added that if companies did not meet the ethical standards set around AI, they would not survive in the market. If governments are unable to create a trusted AI environment, they will not maximize the benefits of the technology.

“So it’s essential to build trusted AI in order to maximize the potential benefits of AI technology and the way we should do that is in a global multi-stakeholder approach,” Min said.


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