Artificial intelligence (AI) invokes images of sentient computer overlords from science fiction, but the reality is far different. Today, AI refers to an array of technologies that are making business processes faster and more effective, including predictive analytics, machine learning, deep neural networks and natural language processing. AI has become a strategic imperative for businesses seeking to improve efficiency, unlock new revenue opportunities and boost customer loyalty.
There are many success stories demonstrating how AI is improving business performance and productivity. For example, the Associated Press trained its AI software to automatically write short earnings news stories, freeing journalists to focus on more in-depth analysis. Meanwhile, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai used an AI tool called Deep Patient to analyze a patient’s medical history and predict which diseases they might be at risk for up to a year before they are diagnosed.
One of the reasons that AI is becoming a strategic imperative for so many organizations is because it provides them with the opportunity to reduce manual errors, boosting productivity and efficiency across the board. AI can also help them create personalized and compelling customer experiences and improve their business outcomes. However, there are a few key challenges that enterprises must address if they want to make the most of this technology.
The first challenge is ensuring that the algorithms used in an AI system are fair and equitable. This requires computer programmers to build their software with a wide range of considerations, including efficiency, equity, justice and effectiveness. Failing to do so could result in biased and discriminatory decisions.
Another challenge is integrating an AI into existing software and systems. This is particularly challenging when an organization’s data sets are large, complex or inconsistent. AI can be extremely useful in identifying patterns and trends, but it must be carefully applied to avoid introducing bias or generating unintended consequences.
The good news is that the technology for creating and deploying AI solutions has improved significantly in recent years. Affordable, high-performance computing capability is now widely available in the cloud, and AI tools are becoming more accessible. In fact, 2021 McKinsey research found that companies now report deploying AI in more than half of their business functions.
AI has the potential to transform civilization in progressive ways, but only if it is developed and deployed with fundamental human values in mind. This is why the United States, along with likeminded democracies around the world, supports the OECD Recommendation on AI and the associated AI Policy Observatory. These set of international principles promote inclusive growth, human-centered values, transparency and accountability, and safety and security in an ethical and secure digital ecosystem. By incorporating these values, we can ensure that AI is a force for good and not a source of fear and distrust. This is why it’s important for all stakeholders to join the global conversation and take action in this critical area. The future of the global economy depends on it.