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  • Laura Merritt

Establishing Ethical AI Standards: Navigating the Data Deluge

In today's interconnected world, data is streaming in from all corners. From internal databases to external sources, organizations are awash with information. But as Spider-Man's Uncle Ben wisely pointed out, "With great power comes great responsibility." For businesses, especially those with a global footprint, this power necessitates the establishment of ethical AI standards.


A recent webinar, “Establishing Ethical AI Standards in Consulting Firms,” hosted by Salesforce, addressed the importance of consulting firms aligning on a set of ethical AI standards. We have taken it a step further to examine the ethical minefield AI may pose for any organization.


The Data Challenge

Many companies struggle with data governance. It's not uncommon to encounter organizations with vast data lakes, unsure of the data's origins, age or intended use. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and other global regulations add layers of complexity to this issue. This is why it's imperative to have a comprehensive data strategy that emphasizes understanding and mapping out metadata, ensuring data's freshness and aligning with compliance requirements.


The Power and Responsibility of AI

With the rise of Large Language Models (LLMs) and generative AI, there's a palpable excitement about how AI can reshape the future of work and businesses. Yet, as powerful as these tools are, they must be used responsibly, especially in enterprise settings. This is where a responsible AI framework comes into play, one that prioritizes:

  • Transparency and Trust: Open communication about AI's intent and how it's deployed is essential for building trust with users.

  • Human + AI: AI should be viewed not as a replacement but as a tool to augment human capabilities. Feedback loops are crucial to improve models continually.

  • Fairness and Ethics: As AI gets integrated more into talent management processes, ensuring that models aren't biased and promote diversity and inclusion becomes paramount.

Building Organizational Standards

Organizational changes are needed to ensure that ethical AI practices are entrenched. Whether it's aligning ethical AI standards with platforms like Salesforce or promoting training initiatives like an AI university, the goal is widespread awareness and adherence to these standards.


Navigating Risks and Benefits

Generative AI, while promising, also comes with its set of challenges. Red flags have been raised about its potential misuse. It's essential to be cognizant of pitfalls and ensure robust standards are in place. Furthermore, while some clients may be in the nascent stages of AI adoption, others might be further along. Irrespective, the approach should be holistic, ensuring the right model is chosen, followed by experimentation and building. Steering committees and AI councils play a crucial role in providing oversight.


Putting the Customer at the Center

At the heart of this AI revolution is the customer. The ultimate aim is to serve them better and more efficiently. Yet, it's also essential to be mindful of costs, both financial and environmental. With AI, we can offer a personalized experience for the customer, but this requires proper data governance and hygiene.


Adopting a Phased Approach

Addressing the data challenge requires a methodical approach. Focusing on specific domains, whether product, customer, or financial data, is crucial before expanding to other areas. A five-phase approach, starting with model selection and culminating in operationalization through steering committees, is recommended.


The Human Element

At its core, AI is a tool. It can aid sales teams, for example, but human judgment is irreplaceable. The responsible AI framework, therefore, places people at its center. It's not about replacing humans but enhancing their capabilities.


As AI continues to embed itself in organizational processes, the emphasis on ethical use becomes even more paramount. Through collaboration, governance and a focus on both people and customers, businesses can harness the power of AI responsibly and effectively.


At AOE, we’re combining technical expertise with an understanding of AI's broader implications and ethics to better equip ourselves and our clients for success in this exciting era. The AI world is constantly evolving. AOE can help you in your journey. Reach out today.

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