According to IBM’s 2022 Global AI Adoption Index report, compiled from a survey of more than 3,000 companies in 22 industries and 53 countries, as many as 35% of organizations are now using artificial intelligence. The question of the ethics of its use in business therefore becomes crucial. This is not only a question about the well-being of owners and the positive customer experience of companies. Failure to understand or ignore the ethical aspects of AI can lead to large-scale negative social, economic and even legal consequences. So let’s reflect on this important issue by examining not only the risks but also the benefits of an ethical approach to AI in business.

What is AI business ethics?

AI ethics is about how AI-based technologies should be designed, developed, used and managed responsibly and following human values.

AI ethics in a business context mainly includes issues such as:

  • Protecting privacy and respecting users’ rights regarding how their data is used,
  • Robustness of solutions, including avoiding errors resulting from the publication of unprepared solutions,
  • non-discrimination, that is, taking care of the data on which artificial intelligence is taught to avoid reproducing biases in algorithms and machine learning models, as well as carefully testing the solutions introduced,
  • the responsibility of companies for the solutions they create, which includes problems related to privacy, how data is handled, misinformation and manipulation of user behavior, and The impact of artificial intelligence on the environment, i.e., the drive to create the most energy-efficient solutions possible.

How to ethically implement artificial intelligence in business?

The key to the ethical use of AI in business is to create transparent solutions, that is, to strive for full transparency in how AI solutions are created and what data they use. A separate issue is maintaining transparency, that is, regularly reviewing and updating the performance of AI-based solutions to ensure that there is no unintentional discrimination or privacy violations.

Another important aspect is to ensure that employees and customers are aware of how the company uses AI and the potential consequences of that use. These should be clearly described in the AI service regulations available to users.

 business ethic

Source: DALL-E 3, prompt: Marta M. Kania (https://www.linkedin.com/in/martamatyldakania/)

To work on AI ethics, Frontier Model Forum was established in July 2023, which focused on ensuring the safe and responsible development of AI models. It was created by leading companies developing artificial intelligence, namely:

  • Anthropic – the company responsible for chatbot Claude, “a security and artificial intelligence research company that works to build reliable, interpretable and controllable artificial intelligence systems.”
  • Google – an organization that artificial intelligence in many B2B and B2C solutions, and provides Google Bard chat described as a “research experiment.”
  • Microsoft – similarly to Google, Microsoft developed large-scale AI including Bing Chat and Microsoft Image Generator,
  • OpenAI – creators of ChatGPT and Dall-e 3, who define their mission as “to ensure that artificial general intelligence benefits all of humanity.”
  • The Forum’s goals include:

    1. Supporting the safe and responsible development of AI models,
    2. Recognizing best practices in the field,
    3. Promoting AI security research and
    4. Facilitating information sharing between companies and governments.

    The forum plans public consultations and discussions with governments on how to effectively collaborate on the future fate of artificial intelligence, as well as developing applications of artificial intelligence in close connection with AI ethics. For example, its application in areas such as climate change mitigation, cancer detection, and combating cyber threats.

     business ethic

    Source: Frontier Model Forum (www.frontiermodelforum.org)

    Why invest in business ethics solutions?

    Investing in ethical AI is crucial not only from a moral standpoint but also for strategic business benefits. According to Google research, 86% of consumers prefer to spend money with companies that represent their values. The key reasons to consider implementing ethical AI are:

    1. Legal compliance – An ethical approach to AI helps comply with growing data protection and privacy regulations.
    2. Avoiding reputational risk – misuse of AI can lead to serious reputational damage. For example, IBM has been sued for allegedly misusing data, Optum has been accused of creating algorithms that favor white patients, and Goldman Sachs has been accused of gender discrimination in lending.
    3. Long-term cost-effectiveness – ethical AI prevents costly mistakes, yielding long-term benefits.
    4. Social responsibility – ethical use of AI is a reflection of a company’s social responsibility.

    AI business ethics issues

    The most well-known example of problems with the ethical application of AI concerns unauthorized user data: the case of Facebook, which became infamous for giving Cambridge Analytica, a politically entangled company, access to the personal data of more than 50 million users. This situation demonstrates the risks associated with the misuse of personal data and points to the need for strong ethics and accountability in AI.

    The second threat related to AI ethics in business is the issue of energy consumption. Although the exact amount of energy required to train the GPT-4 model, used in paid versions of ChatGPT and BingChat, has not been publicly disclosed, it contains more than 175 billion parameters and has been trained on more than 45 TB of data.

    The training process required analyzing huge amounts of data and optimizing the model’s parameters while maintaining and updating the operation of GPT-4 entails the need for intensive use of computing power and also results in high energy consumption. Therefore, one of the important problems of AI ethics is to use in business artificial intelligence with the minimum requirements necessary to perform the planned tasks, instead of using for all purposes the most modern but energy-expensive models.

    The third, very important problem is disinformation and “deepfake.” Here the main problems of AI ethics are:

    • tagging content created by generative artificial intelligence,
    • control over published materials – that is, “fact-checking” avoids the unintentional spread of disinformation. It is important to remember that artificial intelligence can “hallucinate,” i.e. create highly probable but untrue content,
    • not using images of famous people – who, thanks to their accessibility, are very easily cast as video narrators speaking any lines.

    AI and business ethics – summary

    Investing in ethical AI is not only a moral obligation, but also a strategic business decision. For small and medium-sized enterprises, this means not only protecting privacy and avoiding discrimination but also paying attention to the accessibility of AI solutions for all users. It is also significant to train employees in ethical AI so that they understand both the capabilities and limitations of these technologies.

    Investing in ethical AI solutions builds trust not only among customers but also among investors and partners, becoming the foundation for long-term relationships based on transparency and integrity. A company’s long-term vision for AI ethics should include continuous adaptation of ethical guidelines to new technological developments and social changes that seem to be an inevitable result of AI development, to ensure responsible and sustainable application of AI in business.

    business ethics

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    AI and business ethics. Why you should invest in ethical solutions | AI in business #45 robert whitney avatar 1background

    Author: Robert Whitney

    JavaScript expert and instructor who coaches IT departments. His main goal is to up-level team productivity by teaching others how to effectively cooperate while coding.

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