WEDNESDAY 17 JUL 2019 9:59 AM


As organisations and businesses around the world move towards an AI-centred future, the ethical use of AI systems becomes increasingly fundamental to win the public’s trust. Research from technology consultancy Capgemini unveils the current state in the use of AI, giving guidance on how to achieve ethical, transparent systems for the near future.

The widespread use of AI and algorithms has led to ethical issues in the past, such as the unauthorised collection of personal data or machine-led decisions in banking and insurance. Capgemini’s research shows that consumers, employees and citizens will reward organisations which support an ethical use of AI systems, and they would be just as prone to punish the same companies whenever things go wrong.

Over three-quarters of consumers (76%) believe there should be further regulations on how companies use AI, with almost half of them (47%) having experienced AI ethical issues in the recent past. Such negative experiences can threaten both a company’s reputation and the relationship with its customers, as almost one in two end consumers (41%) would complain in case of a bad AI interaction, either on social media (31%) or by filing cases against the responsible company (25%).

According to Capgemini, nine out of 10 executives believe the pressure to implement AI is to be blamed for the most recent ethical issues, along with the failure to consider ethics when constructing AI-powered systems. Over time, bad practices led to unwanted results and corroded relationships with consumers.

The flip side of the coin is that ethical AI systems can be just as rewarding. The tech consultancy’s research shows that right-minded use of AI can have a positive impact on customer loyalty, with 55% of respondents saying they would place higher trust in the company itself and 52% stating they would be more likely to buy more from it. When building AI-powered systems, organisations must prioritise an ethical strategy, aiming for moral uses of their algorithms to enrich the end customers’ experiences.

Tech consultancies such as Capgemini can assist in the process, keeping in mind business leaders, customers and IT and data leaders alike. Capgemini advances a three-pronged approach which embraces all key stakeholders, giving guidance on creating ethic governance structures and solid strategies for AI systems, from executive to consumer level.

As most consumers (74%) wish to know when a service is powered by AI, transparency and accountability are equally fundamental in the process. A conscious use of the new technologies can help companies avoid backlash and increase trust in consumers at the same time, while bringing relevant results to the business in both the short and the long term.

For more from Communicate magazine, sign up for the Communicate newsletter here and follow us on Twitter @Communicatemag.