With Black Friday around the corner, many businesses have adopted artificial intelligence (AI) to identify changing consumer trends and optimise sales.
As businesses race to adopt this new technology, their ability to use it ethically – and in ways that generate trust from customers, partners, and the public – will become a competitive differentiator.
“With Black Friday moving online this year, it’s vital that companies introducing AI to their business remain fair, accountable and transparent,” says Dries Cronje, CEO of AI consulting company Deep Learning Café. “While AI will change the way businesses work, there are serious and valid ethical concerns associated with the practice.”
According to a 2019 survey by the Eldelman Trust Barometer, three-quarters of consumers say that they won’t buy from unethical companies, while 86% say they are more loyal to ethical companies.
Today, businesses are being held more accountable than ever for what they do and how they behave. “Ethics should be a part of the discussion from the design phase of any AI project, to ensure that all parties are cognisant of the social impact of AI implementation,” says Cronje.
While there is a widespread fear that AI will replace human jobs, it’s becoming increasingly clear that AI is not a job killer. Instead, research shows that entirely new categories of jobs are being created due to AI technology.
“New technology may replace entire categories of work, especially in the transportation, retail and customer service industries,” says Cronje. “On the other hand, companies will have the opportunity to allocate their human resources to much higher value tasks instead of taking orders, fielding simple customer service requests, or data entry related tasks.”
Mindful AI involves being aware and purposeful about the intentions of implementing AI within your business, says Cronje; “Too often organisations go wrong because they adopt AI for the wrong reasons. It’s important to understand that AI is not a silver bullet that will solve all your problems. Instead, AI should be human-centric, trustworthy, and, most importantly, ethical.”