Image credit: Supplied
Artificial intelligence (AI) is dominating business headlines, from ground-breaking innovations to process efficiencies – especially as generative AI takes the world by storm.
Applications like ChatGPT promise to disrupt business models and bring new capabilities to companies everywhere, including ones that previously weren’t mature AI users.
To make the most of AI’s ever-growing potential, organisations are questioning, experimenting and deploying diverse AI resources – often simultaneously.
As AI is taking its place as an important tool in companies’ strategic arsenal, the technology gives the C-suite plenty to worry about. While some organisation leaders claim their companies aren’t deploying their own AI systems yet, buying AI-embedded products and services from a vendor still poses risks. And employees are interacting with generative AI and other technologies in their daily work, introducing new complexities that exposes the business to even more risk.
Facing the diverse risks
Responsible artificial intelligence (RAI) is an approach to designing, developing and deploying AI systems that is aligned with the company’s purpose and values while still delivering transformative business impact.
A robust RAI programme includes the strategy, governance, processes, tools and culture that are necessary to embed the approach across an organisation.
For example, the responsible AI strategy conveys principles upheld by a multidisciplinary body that is part of governance.
Risk assessment and a product development playbook are among the enabling processes, supported by tools that help product teams detect AI risks, such as bias. Communications to all staff, both AI developers and users, help instill RAI as part of the corporate culture.
Fully operationalising RAI goes beyond high-level principles to connect with broader governance and risk management approaches and frameworks. For example, RAI has many business benefits, including brand differentiation, increased profitability, and elevated customer trust. The CEO is the right agent to prioritise RAI for several reasons.
Today’s consumers will hesitate to buy from a company that doesn’t seem in control of its technology or that doesn’t protect values like fairness and decency. It falls to the CEO to answer to stakeholders for these incidents and their effects on the firm’s brand and financials.
Responsible AI has also been proven to catalyse and safeguard innovation: almost half of companies that lead in the use of RAI report that the approach has accelerated innovation.
Scaling responsible AI
Harnessing the power of artificial intelligence, including generative AI, is a top priority for executive teams around the world and across industries Firms that scale RAI before they scale AI experience half as many failures and realise more value from AI itself.
And the Gulf is leading the global race in developing RAI. On its path towards transitioning into an AI+X future, in Qatar, the Ministry of Labour recently launched its very own nationalisation AI algorithm in the private sector to meet the job market demands.
The UAE sets a clear vision through its AI Strategy, to become the world leader in AI by 2031, creating new economic and business opportunities and generating up to Dhs335bn ($91bn) in extra growth. Abu Dhabi’s Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence, touted as the world’s first graduate-level AI university, opened to students last year, and the country has launched a number of startup hubs and training schemes.
The UAE in turn launched a new initiative to help develop legislation, policies and initiatives for a “responsible and efficient” adoption of artificial intelligence within the private sector. Entitled ‘Think AI’ the initiative was launched by the Ministry of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to answer to the changing job market.
It is now evident that executive endorsement will help the organisation harness AI to achieve transformative business impact while innovating responsibly. And, in addition to enhancing AI deployments, the commitment to Responsible AI will further those other priorities and strengthen the organisation overall.
Responsible AI must have a prominent place on the CEO’s agenda alongside core issues like profitability and ESG. In fact, CEO support of a RAI programme is as important as CEO support of priorities like ESG, DEI, and cybersecurity. Only then will it become a foundational part of the company’s ongoing management of strategic, emerging risks.
Elias Baltassis is the partner and director – Artificial Intelligence at Boston Consulting Group