Cultivating Trust in AI for Economic Growth

May 7, 2018 — Blog

Many policies worldwide have been adopted recently in an attempt to create a framework that enforces an ethical and responsible development of Artificial Intelligence (AI). The concept of inclusion is central to most of them. However, it risks remaining a polite word on paper, unless all sectors embrace its uttermost importance. Bringing everyone on board is, not only at the core of our democratic values, but at the very root of economic growth.

Education to Remove Bottlenecks

Indeed, the lack of trust in technology is causing development bottlenecks, in the health sector amongst others. If we want to become global AI leaders, trust must be treated as a true vector of economic vitality. The fostering of trust via education and multisectoral dialogue opportunities isn’t a fluffy “Peace and Love” ideology. Rather, it is what will allow entrepreneurs to seize development opportunities and researchers to push AI towards new, beneficial applications.

For example, a better understanding of the use of data in medical applications, could encourage citizens to more willingly share much needed data by AI researchers in the health sector. Likewise, resistance from within the medical profession to use diagnosis assistant technology could be alleviated. Education and outreach help confront seemingly opposing interests, exchange ideas and move towards mutually beneficial goals. Dialogue builds trust and trust removes bottlenecks to innovation.

Cultivating trust in technology via education will help break down social resistance to changes which is necessary to moving forward. Explaining the benefits of AI increases understanding and builds excitement which, in turn, stimulates new collaborations and partnerships, whether they be entrepreneurial or research initiatives.

Investing in Inclusion

The rise in inequalities between the haves and have-nots is at an all-time high and expected to grow at an even faster rate with the impact of AI. Investing in social change may not sound profitable short-term, but without it there will be no profits to enjoy, or enjoyment just won’t be possible.

Statistics show that only 15% of scientists are from lower income families. How does that impact the types of projects that AI is used for? Beyond the need to work in academic multidisciplinary teams, include more women and a diversity of voices as tech influencers, we also need to favor and support multisectoral intersections that are inclusive of civil society’s voice. This is a determinant issue for society and we must consider the input from community-based non-profit organizations that understand the intricacies of the daily challenges of their users. This will inspire beneficial policy innovation and sustainable product development.

In short, being inclusive, or making AI that is designed by and for the community, means developing a product for a user and in collaboration with that user. Whether it is technology for public consultation, or AI-assisted medical tools, ensuring that users’ wellbeing is at the heart of the design process is instrumental to ensuring its acceptability. We can’t forecast, at this point, the legal questions that will emerge as innovation keeps flabbergasting our imaginations. Therefore, if laws can’t guide our decisions, values must.

Different Leaders, the Best at Spotting Innovation Opportunities

Research shows that the best innovation leaders are themselves different in some way and quickly establish a “speak-up” culture that favors innovation within their organization. Our brains are trained to reject difference and seek what is familiar, yet it is inclusive leaders that are the most successful because it has been demonstrated that they have the ability to see the value in different ideas. Accordingly, putting the right leaders in place is another crucial building block towards the creation of a prosperous society everyone can benefit from.

Finally, in these times of change, as values are more relied upon to guide vital decisions and as AI reflects and embodies these values, an adapted version of this quote by Gandhi reminds us how our daily choices determine our future:

  • “Your beliefs become your thoughts,
    Your thoughts become your words,
    Your words become your actions,
    Your actions become your data,
    Your data becomes your values,
    Your values become your AI.”

About the author