Navigating the ethical landscape of AI: Practical considerations for responsible use

17 Oct 2023
by Wilmari Strachan

In the ever-evolving landscape of technology, artificial intelligence (“AI”) stands as a beacon of innovation, offering unparalleled opportunities to revolutionise industries, streamline processes, and enhance our daily lives. However, as we journey deeper into the realms of AI, we encounter a myriad of ethical dilemmas and responsibilities that should not be overlooked. The responsible use of AI has become an imperative, raising crucial questions about transparency, accountability, and AI biases. In this article, we delve into the practical considerations that are essential for ensuring the responsible use of AI. From the development stage to deployment and beyond, we explore the ethical compass that must guide the AI community and its stakeholders in making choices that benefit individuals and society as a whole.

Some practical considerations to ensure the responsible use of AI include:

  • Data Privacy: Protecting personal data is crucial. This involves implementing robust data privacy measures, anonymizing data, and ensuring that clients comprehend how AI is employed while also obtaining their consent when relevant. This is especially important in applications like personalization and profiling
  • Bias Mitigation: Continuously monitoring and mitigating bias (and conflicts of interest) in AI algorithms. Making use of diverse and representative datasets, as well as adapting as necessary and conducting audits to verify compliance.
  • Transparency: Providing clear explanations of decisions and operations in order to ensure transparency, especially in critical applications like financial services.
  • Accountability: Establishing clear lines of responsibility for AI systems and holding individuals and organisations accountable for their actions, including liability in cases of AI errors.
  • Fairness: Ensuring that AI systems promote fairness and equity in their outcomes and avoid reinforcing existing disparities or stereotypes.
  • Regulation and Standards: Compliance with relevant laws and regulations related to AI and adherence to ethical guidelines and industry standards.
  • Policies and procedures: Developing and implementing AI policies and procedures are critical in ensuring the responsible use of AI and mitigating associated risks and liabilities. Policies should, at a minimum, address:
    • The type of AI that may or may not be used in the workplace;
    • When and how it may be used, if at all;
    • The risk of using AI;
    • Responsibility linked to using AI,
    • Verification and output control.
  • Ethical AI Training: Training AI developers, engineers, and users in ethical AI principles as well as best practices. It is important that employees not only understand how to use AI responsibly in the workplace but that they understand the consequences and risks of using AI tools as well.
  • Ethical Review Boards: Consider establishing internal or external review boards to assess the ethical implications of AI projects, especially in research involving sensitive topics.
  • Benefit Assessment: Continuously evaluating the social and environmental impacts of AI projects to ensure that they provide net benefits to society.
  • Human Oversight: Last, but not least, maintaining human control over AI systems to avoid unintended consequences. Having governance and output controls in place is critical. AI outputs can be incorrect, out-of-date, biased, or misleading. Employees should be responsible for the content they create, regardless of the assistance of generative AI tools, and employees should independently verify the accuracy of any outputs.

The ethical use of AI is imperative to maintain trust and fairness and to ensure compliance with the law.  By embracing ethical guidelines and principles, we can unlock the potential of AI to drive innovation and efficiency while safeguarding the interests of individuals and society as a whole. The commitment to ethics is not only a competitive advantage but also a vital safeguard for the integrity and stability of the industry.

The TMT team at ENS has developed a comprehensive toolkit to assist companies with the implementation of Responsible AI in their organisations. Get in touch if you’d like to learn more.

Join us for our upcoming seminar on 7 November 2023, where we will be discussing how to harness responsible AI for maximum ROI.

Wilmari Strachan
Executive | Technology, Media and Telecommunications