Why meeting the cultural and ethical challenges of AI head-on is so critical for government
SAS considers the implications of deploying AI before embarking on implementation
Speak to almost any member of the public about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and you’ll likely be met either with a furrowed brow of concerned cynicism, or a wide-eyed smile of enthusiasm. AI seems to have this kind of highly polarising effect, certainly on citizens and many organisations who are still, understandably, evaluating how AI will impact the future of humanity.
I believe much of this has to do with misperceptions about AI’s capabilities, and its role in society and the economy. What this so often boils down to is a matter of culture and ethics. Culture in terms of how AI can be successfully deployed in the workplace for the mutual benefit of the organisation and employees. Ethical in the way in which the algorithms that power AI are built, how they learn, and how decision-making can be achieved fairly and with as little innate bias as possible.
These issues, and the measures you can take to address the cultural shift and ethical use of AI are further discussed in an interesting paper by SAS, entitled: Artificial intelligence: the science of practical ethics.
How can the public sector address these challenges?
While the issues around ethics and cultural change are serious and complex, the good news is that many experts in the field of AI are already working on frameworks to help the public sector ensure that AI can be developed ethically, and that data and algorithms can be deployed with as little bias as possible.
Some of these ideas operate at a more philosophical level than others, such as those proposed by The House of Lords and the Future of Life Institute. SAS, as experts in the field of AI for over 40 years – specifically in machine learning – have created a set of practical considerations around ethics and culture for public sector organisations. What does become apparent is that many of the challenges around data management and governance, and algorithmic bias can be managed very effectively within the analytics platform that powers AI and gives it real intelligence.
You will find these different frameworks and considerations discussed in the paper called ‘Artificial Intelligence: the science of practical ethics’ which you can find here, at the SAS AI for public sector site.1 The Information Commissioner’s Office, Information Rights Strategic Plan: Trust and Confidence, August 2018 https://ico.org.uk/media/about-the-ico/documents/2259732/annual-track-2018.pdf