We must start addressing the ethical challenges of artificial intelligence

By Todd Lohr

Artificial intelligence is already changing the way we live and work. AI-powered robots provide investment advice, assist with surgeries and improve the customer experience.

And with AI becoming increasingly intelligent, its impact will only grow more profound. With such powerful technologies capable of simulating human reasoning, it is imperative that companies have a smart approach to AI.

Equally – if not, more – significant to the promises of AI are the ethical challenges it brings to the workforce, business and society. From genetically engineered babies to racist algorithms to biased facial recognition technology, business leaders must carefully consider the ethical impacts that come with widespread AI. If ignored, the risks may far outweigh the financial benefits.

To balance the risks and rewards of AI, business leaders should start board-level conversations early on to assess any potential ethical impacts of new AI technologies and determine the best way to deploy them. The following questions should be considered – along with others – and discussed in depth to ensure the workforce of the future is protected, and that any negative impact on society is minimized:

  • We can automate, but should we?
  • Are we automating the right task?
  • How can we benefit from these new technologies while maintaining the well-being of our employees?
  • Will our employees, customers, society continue to trust us?
  • Will the outcomes be friendly to humans, the communities in which we do business, the environment?
  • Will this make the world a better place?

Can AI be controlled?

As Stephen Hawking said, “The short-term impact of AI depends on who controls it, the long-term impact depends on whether it can be controlled at all.” At KPMG, we believe that AI can be controlled, but only if business leaders act early to address its many ethical considerations. The companies that choose to ignore the potential negative impacts of AI face grave costs.

During this week’s AI Summit, I will be speaking about how companies can start preparing today for ethical AI challenges, and why it’s so important to practice responsible AI.

For additional information or to speak with Todd Lohr, please contact Melanie Batley.


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Todd Lohr

Todd Lohr

Principal, Digital Lighthouse Leader, KPMG US

+1 215-300-4600

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Melanie Malluk Batley

Melanie Malluk Batley

Associate Director, Corporate Communications, KPMG US

+1 201-307-8217