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Why the ethics of AI should matter to business leaders

GUEST OPINION: Artificial Intelligence (AI), specifically generative AI (genAI), continues to be a game changer as companies continue to accelerate their AI adoption, with Australia’s projected AI spending set to reach $6.4 billion by 2026.

However, while the rise of genAI has created a dramatic surge in visibility and adoption, enterprises are struggling to develop data, analytics and AI business applications fast enough to translate AI’s potential into measurable business impact.

Research shows that Australia is poised to unlock tens of billions of dollars in economic value by 2030 if it accelerates the responsible adoption of genAI. 

Amid this positivity, however, government and business leaders continue to voice concern that underscores a deeper issue: trust, specifically a lack of it. Low trust continues to impact AI adoption rates. Earlier this year, Science and Industry Minister Ed Husic acknowledged that while AI has been forecast to support economic growth, low trust was the ‘handbrake’ that needed addressing.

However, while this is undoubtedly a major issue, there are still far too many positive benefits associated with AI adoption to ignore the undeniable value it can deliver.  For example, according to a recent PWC study, 60% of Australian CEOs believe genAI will significantly change the way their company creates, delivers and captures value within the next three years.  

While many generative AI tools, like ChatGPT, have rules to prevent abuse, many users have found ways to break these safeguards. Cybercriminals have also created their own generative pre-trained transformers (GPTs) to code malware and create highly convincing phishing emails at scale. 

Public and private sectors need greater collaboration to better regulate AI and reduce the risks of misuse, however, seeing many public and private sector entities working together to advance ethical AI is encouraging. For example, Australia recently invested $17 million to create an AI Adopt Programme, which assists small-to-medium businesses in making informed decisions about leveraging AI for business enhancement.

Building AI systems that people can trust to consistently produce fair and unbiased results must be ethically designed and have trusted information sources: with accurate, consistent, clean, bias-free, and reliable data as the foundation.

Leveraging data platforms that support modern data architectures can greatly boost an organisations’ ability to manage and analyse data across the entire data and AI lifecycle. The platform must have built-in security and governance controls that allow organisations to maintain transparency over AI-driven decisions – even as they deploy data analytics and AI at scale. 

United Overseas Bank (UOB) elevated its customers’ banking experience while reducing costs with trusted data and AI. By using a modern data platform solution to create a single data source of truth, UOB successfully removed data silos, achieved higher revenues and enhanced productivity by 20%. 

As technology leaders, we must continue to consider how to balance the benefits of AI with managing any possible ethical conflicts that may arise. This is crucial to ensuring we protect ourselves, our customers and the wider community.


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