What’s Your AI Package This Summer: Half-Board or All-Inclusive?

Ian Wallis from Data Strategists Ltd will be the keynote speaker at our upcoming event "Exploring the ethics of AI in today's workplace." on Thursday 26 September, 2019. In the 2nd of a two-part blog series he takes a deeper dive into the world of ethics and the potential impact that AI may have on jobs.

Artificial Intelligence

As many people return from their summer break it’s timely to question the role AI played in your plans. Some organisations are well-progressed, others are yet to implement AI or even begin to explore its potential.

The ethical debate around AI is not new – it has been around for several years – however the pace that AI is being implemented is well ahead of where the ethical debate is.


The business advantage of ethical AI

The influence AI is playing in our everyday lives is increasing. CapGemini published the results of its research into ethics  in AI showing that ethics drive consumer trust and satisfaction. Organisations that are viewed as using AI ethically enjoy a 44-point net promoter score advantage when compared to those that do not. Sixty-two per cent of customers said they would place more trust in companies where AI interactions are perceived as ethical and 61 per cent would share those positive experiences with friends and family.

In the same survey, executives from 9 out of 10 organisations believe that ethical issues have resulted from AI systems over the last two to three years, with examples such as collection of personal patient data without consent in healthcare, and over-reliance on machine-led decisions without disclosure in banking and insurance.

Similarly, 47 per cent of consumers responded that they’ve experienced two or more ethical issues with AI in the last two to three years and over three-quarters of consumers expect new regulations governing the use of AI.

As a result, organisations are starting to realise the importance of ethical AI. Over 51 per cent of executives consider that it is important to ensure that AI systems are ethical and transparent.


Why do people fear the power of AI in the future?

Robots overtaking humans is starting to feel like a reality.  Neuromorphic chips can mimic the intricacies of the human brain. If incorporated in a drone, it could remember and recognise new elements in the environment, operating to the same intelligence as a human.

The idea that AI will simply be a way of replacing low paid work has been dismissed as a concept. However, AI has been utilised in activities undertaken by skilled medical practitioners, front office roles in financial services and parts of the legal profession, amongst others. Raffaele Savi, of Blackrock, says AI is already outperforming humans in asset management environments and predicts a big shift towards AI.


Creativity & emotional intelligence: the skills for the future

The key to spotting job roles less likely to be impacted by AI is to look for those which require people to think on their feet and come up with creative and original ideas, or where emotional intelligence and human interaction are critical to the success of the role. The recruitment profession falls into two distinct camps, between those roles which are commoditised (where there is repeatability for AI to analyse candidates faster and more reliably) and the roles which require human interaction, analysis of personality and character by the recruiter. As such, locating specialist skills in markets such as interim and sales will need at least some degree of human input by the recruitment specialist.

Leading organisations recognise the need to address ethical concerns related to AI. However, it is challenging to see how this can be policed or structured, effectively and in a uniform way given AI operates across borders. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) in UK launched a set of new standards (P7000 series) in December 2016 with the global mission to ensure every stakeholder involved in the design and development of autonomous and intelligent systems is educated, trained, and empowered to prioritise ethical considerations so that these technologies are advanced for the benefit of humanity.’

Others have suggested that the AI world is still evolving and that it is too early to set standards due to the ever-changing nature of AI development.

Over in the States, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has developed what it has termed the ‘model machine.’ The goal is to build a crowd-sourced picture of human opinion on how machines should make decisions when faced with moral dilemmas, crowd-sourcing assembly and discussion of potential scenarios of moral consequence.

In a report issued at the end of 2016,  by the World Economic Forum predicted that 7.1m jobs could go in the top 15 major developed and emerging economies, with only 2.1m created. It also forecast 65 per cent of children entering primary school today will enter employment in roles that don’t exist today.


Final thoughts

AI is here to stay, yet it’s at a point in its maturity where we are grappling with the ethical issues it represents. Its application in China will influence what happens in Europe and the developments in healthcare could help eradicate some of the most challenging ailments. This surely is a good thing, however once that genie is out of the bottle, it might be impossible to resist the intelligence it offers, regardless of ethics.


Interested in how the ethics of AI is going to affect the future world of work?

Join our upcoming event with keynote speaker Ian Wallis - "Exploring the Ethics of AI in Today's Workplace", taking place on Thursday 26 September, 2019.

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