Artificial intelligence is considered the second coming for many Silicon Valley savants, but it’s also a sort of saint in various industries worldwide, creating innovation and profit. Indeed, the emerging tool is helping tech leaders reshape leadership and opportunities for more efficient financial systems, medical devices, and communication styles.
But Silicon Valley is also focusing on how the emergent technology can improve companies’ role in social responsibility. Already, big tech companies and nonprofits have integrated AI-based tools as part of their business strategies with infrastructure to help their missions succeed. Today, it’s estimated by the National Business Research Institute that 61% of businesses are using AI tools.
However, customers, civil rights groups, governments and investors demand that companies develop a more charitable outlook. As AI revolutionizes the world, it can improve a company’s social responsibility — otherwise known as its double bottom line — by promoting improved transparency, more engaged communities.
AI and the More Charitable Company
Major companies are beginning to implement AI devices and tools in their everyday activities. From marketing to in-office work, simple tasks is now automated for more efficient practices. But AI is also supporting more complex missions in the nonprofit sector, like finding refugees or using robotics during surgeries in war-torn regions.
Companies may be inspired by nonprofits who are using AI to focus on social issues. The pioneering nonprofit, Wadhwani AI Institute, seeks to become the first nonprofit institute that uses AI to improve the lives of impoverished farmers, teachers that have limited access to resources and rural healthcare workers.
Of course, there is a list of companies who have harnessed the power of social responsibility within their own business models. Companies like PAWS is an AI-led system that evaluates information about previous patrols and poaching activity. Big names have joined in, too. Bill Gates has championed environmental friendliness for years and has led Microsoft to invest in AI for social good. Gates’ company has spent $50 million on AI for Earth, which creates and test innovative AI applications on the environment.
Could utilizing AI inspire even more companies to become more socially responsible? First off, AI-focused businesses may need to become more socially aware of the issues that AI tech and its data insights will generate.
For starters, AI’s technology will offer a goldmine of recorded and learned information from its previous interactions with consumers. The new database of information, machine learning can provide low-risk, highly confident predictions. But in an era of privacy breaches and fake content, companies in every industry must allow their consumers to trust the AI and machine learning technology and that means building a better transparency program for workers and clients.
Of course, its increasingly demanded that companies should secure their data collection processes. The Information Technology Industry Council represents big tech names like IBM, Google, Microsoft and Amazon and published a list of principles to promote the ethical development of AI systems.
The principles requirements include:
Responsible Design and Deployment: Companies must acknowledge the potentials for AI’s use and misuse and the consequences of the actions. They must take steps to responsibly avoid the reasonably predictable misuse of AI through an ethical design.
Robust and Representative Data: Companies must understand the parameters and characteristics of the data and show that they recognize the potential harm of bias. They must test for bias throughout AI’s deployment.
Interpretability: They must mitigate bias, inequity and other harms in AI decision-making processes.
It’s clear that businesses are required to proactively consider ethical approaches to implementing transparent AI data. Companies like Google instituted their own ethics advisory board, but failed to assure the public that they uphold socially responsible standards and disbanded the board.
“I think (Google’s decision) reflects a broader public understanding that ethics involves more than just creating an ethics board without an institutional framework to provide for accountability,” says AI researcher Ben Wagner.
However, other big tech companies like Microsoft released their ethics and principles surrounding AI development, including a discussion of the social implications of the technology. It also called for some government regulations on the new tech. In recent years, big companies have increasingly made efforts to discuss their AI ethics transparently.
Create Engaged Communities
AI is here to help make our lives easier and maintain more informed leaders and consumers. Today, nearly everyone uses “AI” through the Internet with the likes of automated chatbots linked to websites or through targeted ads with crafted algorithms. As the internet becomes smarter and more personalized, the need for human intermediaries, companies will want to maximize the satisfaction and engagement of audiences and stakeholders.
Additionally, AI and machine learning can segment community data by category or interest while it monitors multiple channels to target keywords for each segment. When incoming information comes in from a client or community member, AI analyzes the data for relevance and authority. Information is then sorted for future relevance and use. Then, community members receive high-end content that’s relevant to their category or demographic is ready for consumption through various channels like social, email, forum postings or direct messages.
The access to data will provide more investment into community engagement since the flow of information and participation is essential symbiotic. With AI, businesses can more readily identify and analyze the people and communities that use their products or services and provide more profound connections for them.
AI Upgrades the CSR System
Even though the threat of displaced workers looms among the disadvantages of implementing AI, companies can shape the training and employment around the need for more skilled work. In the process, AI can lend in safeguarding ethical practices through transparency and engaged communities, so that companies maintain a sustainable and socially conscious business model.
While economic and political laws will also have a prominent factor in how ethically AI is used by major companies in the future, it influences companies to take a conscious look at how they impact the world. It’s nearly certain that the cost savings and productivity with which businesses use AI to aid social responsibility across the world will increase and help businesses thrive. Perhaps, with AI, we can build a more empathetic and more proactive world for everyone.