Connect with us

Business

Exclusive: AI Ethics Are a Concern. Learn How You Can Stay Ethical

Published

on

AI Ethics Are a Concern. Learn How You Can Stay Ethical

#Ethics #Concern #Learn #Stay #Ethical

Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming ubiquitous in our everyday lives. 

Whether you’re aware of it, AI is built into many of the technologies you use on a regular basis. When Netflix recommends a show you might like, or Google suggests you book a trip online from the airport you usually fly from, artificial intelligence is involved.

In fact, ninety-one percent of businesses today want to invest in AI. While AI may seem extremely technical, bordering on the sci-fi level, it’s ultimately just a tool. And like any tool, it can be used for good or ill. Therefore, as AI takes on increasingly sophisticated tasks, it is important to ensure that an ethical framework is in place for its right use.

Let’s dive a little deeper into the key concerns surrounding ethics in AI, some examples of ethical AI, and most importantly, how to ensure ethics are respected when using AI in a business context.

What are ethics in AI?

AI ethics is a set of moral principles to guide and inform the development and use of artificial intelligence technologies. Because AI does things that would normally require human intelligence, it requires moral guidelines as much as human decision-making. Without ethical AI regulations, the potential for using this technology to perpetuate misconduct is high.

Many industries use AI heavily, including finance, healthcare, travel, customer service, social media, and transportation. Due to its ever-growing utility in so many industries, AI technology has far-reaching implications for every aspect of the world and therefore needs to be regulated.

Now, of course, different levels of governance are required depending on the industry and context in which AI is deployed. A robot vacuum cleaner that uses AI to determine a home’s floor plan is unlikely to drastically change the world unless it uses an ethical framework. A self-driving car that needs to recognize pedestrians, or an algorithm that determines what type of person is most likely to be approved for a loan, can and will profoundly impact society if ethical guidelines are not implemented.

Advertisement

By determining the top ethical concerns of AI, consulting examples of ethical AI, and considering best practices for using AI ethically, you can ensure your organization is on the right track to using AI.

What are the main ethical concerns of AI?

As previously mentioned, the key ethical concerns vary widely by industry, context, and the potential impact magnitude. But by and large, the biggest ethical issues when it comes to artificial intelligence are AI bias, concerns that AI could replace human jobs, privacy concerns, and using AI to deceive or manipulate. Let’s go through them in more detail.

Biases in AI

As AI takes on sophisticated tasks and does the heavy lifting, don’t forget that humans programmed and trained AI to perform those tasks. And people have prejudices. For example, if predominantly white male data scientists collect data on predominantly white males, the AI ​​they design could replicate their biases.

But that’s actually not the most common source of AI bias. What is more common is that the data used to train the AI ​​models can be biased. For example, if the data collected is only from the statistical majority, it is inherently biased.

A poignant example of this is Georgia Tech’s recent research into object recognition in self-driving cars. It was found that pedestrians with dark skin were hit about 5% more often than people with light skin. They found that the data used to train the AI ​​model was likely the source of the injustice: the data set contained about 3.5 times as many examples of people with lighter skin, so the AI ​​model could recognize them better. That seemingly small difference could have had deadly consequences when it comes to something as potentially dangerous as self-driving cars hitting people.

On the plus side, the good thing about AI and machine learning (ML) models is that the data set they’re trained on can be modified, and with enough effort invested, they can become largely unbiased. In contrast, it is not feasible to let people make completely unbiased decisions on a large scale.

AI replacing jobs

Almost every technological innovation in history has been accused of replacing jobs, and so far, it has never happened that way. As advanced as AI may seem, AI will not replace humans or their jobs any time soon.

Back in the 1970s, automatic teller machines (ATMs) were introduced, and people feared mass unemployment for bank employees. The reality was just the opposite. Since fewer cashiers were now required to operate a bank branch, the banks were able to increase the number of branches and the number of cashier jobs overall. And they could do it for less because ATMs took care of the simple, everyday tasks like processing check deposits and withdrawing cash.

This is reflected in what is currently happening with AI and its applications. An example is when AI was first introduced to understand and mimic human speech. People panicked as chatbots and intelligent virtual assistants (IVAs) replaced human customer service agents. The reality is that AI-powered automation can be extremely useful, but AI is unlikely to replace humans truly.

In the same way, ATMs took care of the mundane tasks that didn’t require human intervention, AI-powered chatbots and IVAs can take care of the simple, repetitive requests and even understand questions in natural language using natural language processing to provide helpful, contextual answers. 

Advertisement

But the most complicated queries still require a human agent’s intervention. AI-powered automation may be limited in some ways, but the impact can be huge. AI-powered virtual agents reduce customer service fees by up to 30%, and chatbots can handle up to 80% of routine tasks and customer questions.

The future of AI is realistically one in which humans and AI-powered bots work together, with the bots handling the simple tasks and humans focusing on the more complex matters.

AI and privacy

Perhaps the most valid concern about ethics in AI is privacy. Privacy is recognized as a fundamental human right in the UN Declaration of Human Rights, and various AI applications can pose a real threat to it. Technologies such as surveillance cameras, smartphones, and the internet have made it easier to collect personal data. When companies aren’t transparent about why and how data is collected and stored, privacy is at risk.

Facial recognition, for example, is controversial for many reasons. One reason being how the images are recognized and stored by this technology. Being monitored without explicit consent is one of the AI applications many consider unethical. In fact, the European Commission banned facial recognition technology in public spaces until adequate ethical controls could be put in place. 

The challenge in creating ethical privacy regulations around AI is that people are generally willing to give up some personal information to get some level of personalization. This is a big trend in customer service and marketing for a good reason. 

80%

of consumers are more likely to purchase when brands offer personalized experiences.

Source: Epsilon

Some examples are grocery or drug stores that offer coupons based on past purchases or travel companies that offer deals based on consumers’ location.

This personal data helps AI ​​deliver timely, personalized content that consumers want. Still, without proper data sanitization protocols, there is a risk that this data will be processed and sold to third-party companies and used for unintended purposes.

For example, the now-infamous Cambridge-Analytica scandal involved the political consulting firm that worked for the Trump campaign and which sold the private data of tens of millions of Facebook users. These third-party companies are also more vulnerable to cyberattacks and data breaches, which means your private information could fall even further into the wrong hands.

Somewhat ironically, AI is a great solution for data protection. AI’s self-learning capabilities mean that AI-powered programs can detect malicious viruses or patterns that often lead to security breaches. This means that by implementing AI, organizations can proactively detect attempts at data breaches or other types of data security attacks before information can be stolen.

Advertisement

Deception and manipulation using AI

Using AI to perpetuate misinformation is another major ethical issue. Machine learning models can easily generate factually incorrect text, meaning fake news articles or fake summaries can be created in seconds and distributed through the same channels as real news articles.

This is well illustrated by how much social media influenced the spread of fake news during the 2016 election, putting Facebook in the spotlight of ethical AI. A 2017 study by NYU and Stanford researchers shows that the most popular fake news stories on Facebook were shared more often than the most popular mainstream news stories. The fact that this misinformation was able to spread without regulation from Facebook, potentially affecting the results of something as important as a presidential election, is extremely disturbing.

AI is also capable of creating false audio recordings as well as synthetic images and videos where someone in an existing image or video is replaced with someone else. Known as “deepfakes,” these false similarities can be extremely persuasive.

When AI is used to intentionally deceive in this way, it puts the onus on individuals to discern what is real or not, and whether due to lack of skill or lack of will, we have seen that humans are not always able to determine what is real or not.

How to use AI ethically

With all the challenges AI brings, you might be wondering how to mitigate risk when implementing AI as a solution in your organization. Fortunately, there are some best practices for using AI ethically in a business context.

Education and awareness around AI ethics

Start by educating yourself and your peers about what AI can do, its challenges, and its limitations. Rather than scare people or completely ignore the potential of unethical use of AI, making sure everyone understands the risks and knows how to mitigate them is the first step in the right direction. 

The next step is to create a set of ethical guidelines that your organization must adhere to. Finally, since ethics in AI is difficult to quantify, check in regularly to ensure goals are being met and processes are being followed.

Take a human-first approach to AI 

Taking a human-first approach means controlling bias. First, make sure your data isn’t biased (like the self-driving car example mentioned above). Second, make it inclusive. In the US, the software programmer demographic is approximately 64% male and 62% white.

This means that the people who develop the algorithms that shape the way society works do not necessarily represent the diversity of that society. By taking an inclusive approach to hiring and expanding the diversity of teams working on AI technology, you can ensure that the AI ​​you create reflects the world it was created for.

Prioritizing transparency and security in all AI use cases

When AI is involved in data collection or storage, it’s imperative to educate your users or customers about how their data is stored, what it is used for, and the benefits they derive from sharing that data. This transparency is essential to building trust with your customers. In this way, adhering to an ethical AI framework can be seen as creating positive sentiment for your business rather than restrictive regulation.

Advertisement

Examples of ethical AI

Although AI is a relatively new field, tech giants that have been in the field for decades and objective third parties that recognize the need for intervention and regulation have created a framework against which you can align your own organization’s policies.

Frameworks that inspire ethical AI

Several impartial third parties have recognized the need to create guidelines for the ethical use of AI and ensure that its use benefits society.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an international organization working to create better strategies for a better life. They created the OECD AI Principles, which promote the use of AI that is innovative, trustworthy, and respects human rights and democratic values.

The United Nations (UN) has also developed a Framework for Ethical AI that discusses how AI is a powerful tool that can be used for good but risks being used in a way inconsistent with UN values and runs counter to. It suggests that a set of guidelines, policies, or a code of ethics needs to be created to ensure that the use of AI at the UN is consistent with its ethical values.

Businesses and ethical AI

In addition to objective third parties, the biggest leaders in the space have also developed their own guidelines to use AI ethically. 

Google, for example, has developed Artificial Intelligence Principles that form an ethical charter that guides the development and use of artificial intelligence in their research and products. And not only did Microsoft create Responsible AI Principles that they put into practice to guide all AI innovation at Microsoft, but they also created an AI business school to help other companies create their own AI support policies.

But you don’t have to be based in Silicon Valley to advocate for ethical AI. Some smaller AI companies have followed suit and are beginning to include ethics as part of their driving values. 

There are also ways that for-profit businesses can be certified as ethical and sustainable, such as the B Corp certification that validates that an organization uses business as a force for good. 

Several for-profit AI companies have joined the B Corp standards, showing that AI is forever an emerging trend. While this type of accreditation is not exclusive to AI companies, it does signal a commitment to act ethically, and more tech companies can and should seek certification.

AI for Good

When discussing ethics in AI, the focus is more on the possible negative AI use cases and impacts, but AI is really doing a lot of good. It’s important to remember that AI technology is not just a potential problem but a solution to many of the world’s biggest problems. 

Advertisement

There is AI to predict the effects of climate change and suggest actions to address it; robotic surgeons can perform or assist in operations that require more precision than a human can handle.

AI-assisted farming technology is increasing crop yields while decreasing crop yield waste. There are even non-profit organizations like AI for Good dedicated solely to making AI a force with global impact. And as natural as it may seem, AI makes simple, everyday tasks like navigating traffic or asking Siri about the weather easier.

AI gets better with the right ethics

Artificial intelligence has become a powerful tool woven into your everyday life. Almost all of your services and devices use AI to make your life easier or more efficient. And while it is, of course, possible to use AI maliciously, the vast majority of companies have ethical principles in place to mitigate the negative effects where possible.

As long as best practices are followed, AI has the potential to improve virtually every industry, from healthcare to education and beyond. It’s up to the people creating these AI models to ensure they keep ethics in mind and constantly question how what they create can benefit society as a whole. 

When you think of AI as a way to scale human intelligence rather than replace it, it doesn’t seem so complex or scary. And with the right ethical framework, it’s easy to see how it will change the world for the better.

Integrate artificial intelligence into your everyday functions and automate tasks with artificial intelligence software.


Business

Exclusive: 3 Home Improvement Stocks That Can Renovate Your Portfolio – TalkOfNews.com

Published

on

By

3 Home Improvement Stocks That Can Renovate Your Portfolio

#Home #Improvement #Stocks #Renovate #Portfolio

During a bear market, home improvement stocks have historically been solid defensive plays

The housing sector is slowing down. Rising mortgage rates are having the predictable effect of cooling down demand.



MarketBeat.com – MarketBeat

Or are they? While homeowners may not be able to get the same premium they could command just one year ago, there is still an ample supply of homes on the market. And once these homes change hands, new homeowners will be ready to make their new house their own.

However, that’s not the only catalyst for home improvement stocks. Homeowners who are deciding to “love it” rather than “list it” are likely to put some money into one of their largest investments as they wait for the housing pendulum to swing back in their favor.

In this article, I’ll give you three home improvement companies that continue to generate strong revenue and earnings. And two of these companies are also members of the exclusive Dividend Aristocrat club. These are companies that have increased their dividend for at least 25 consecutive years.

If that’s the kind of balance of growth and income that appeals to you, it may be time for you to consider these three home improvement stocks.

Lowe’s (LOW)

Lowe’s (NYSE: LOW) stock is down about 30% in 2022. That’s larger than the broader market. But in the last month, the stock is showing signs of forming a bottom. And with the stock near its 52-week low, it may be time for investors to take a closer look at the stock.

The driving force for that sentiment may be the company’s earnings. In May, Lowe’s closed out its fiscal year. Revenue growth came in at an uninspiring 1% growth. But earnings were up 19%. Even if companies are heading into an earnings recession, a P/E ratio that is slightly below the sector average means it’s likely that Lowe’s will be able to post growth, albeit perhaps slower growth, in its next fiscal year.

And Lowe’s offers investors a rock-solid dividend that it has increased in each of the last 48 years. The current payout is $3.20 per share on an annual basis, and the company has averaged 17% dividend growth over the past three years.

Advertisement

Home Depot (HD)

Just as investors can debate Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO) versus Pepsi (NASDAQ: PEP) among consumer discretionary stocks, they can frequently plant their flag with Lowe’s or Home Depot (NYSE: HD) when it comes to home improvement stocks.

To be fair, neither of these stocks looks like a bad selection for investors who are concerned about a recession. Home Depot delivered a strong earnings report in May 2022. Revenue was up 3.8% and earnings per share were up 5.8%. The company delivered strong same-store sales growth that was due in large part to its relationship with professional contractors.

Of the three stocks in this article, Home Depot has the largest dividend yield (2.68%) as well as the largest payout ($7.60). And while it’s not a dividend aristocrat the company has increased its dividend in each of the last 14 years.

Sherwin Williams (SHW)

Paint is one of the most cost-effective ways to give a house a refreshing update. And as we move into the fall, homeowners attention turns to finding that perfect swatch of paint to transform a room. That’s enough to put Sherwin-Williams (NYSE: SHW) on my radar and perhaps yours as well. Historically the current quarter and the following quarter are the company’s strongest in terms of revenue.

But the skeptics will point to the fact that earnings have been a mixed bag. The company has missed analysts’ expectations in two of last four quarters and in the other two the gains were on the tepid side. And I’ll concede that a mixed earnings outlook will probably bring current price targets down from their 30% upside.

That being said, SHW stock offers both growth and income which is appealing in this volatile market. Sherwin Williams dividend yield of 1% isn’t likely to make income investors swoon. But the company does payout $2.40 on an annualized basis. The company also sports a three-year dividend growth of 24.26% and has increased its dividend in each of the last 44 years.

Continue Reading

Business

Exclusive: VW and Goldman-backed battery maker Northvolt gets $1.1 billion funding injection – TalkOfNews.com

Published

on

By

VW and Goldman-backed battery maker Northvolt gets $1.1 billion funding injection

#Goldmanbacked #battery #maker #Northvolt #billion #funding #injection

Northvolt’s most recent funding announcement comes at a time when major economies are laying out plans to move away from vehicles that use diesel and gasoline.

Mikael Sjoberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Electric vehicle battery maker Northvolt on Tuesday announced a $1.1 billion funding boost, with a range of investors — including Volkswagen and Goldman Sachs Asset Management — taking part in the capital raise.

In a statement, Sweden-based Northvolt said the $1.1 billion convertible note would be used to finance the company’s “expansion of battery cell and cathode material production in Europe to support the rapidly expanding demand for batteries.”

Other investors in the raise include Baillie Gifford, Swedbank Robur, PCS Holding and TM Capital.

Northvolt recently said its first gigafactory, Northvolt Ett, had started commercial deliveries to European customers. The firm says it has orders amounting to $55 billion from businesses such as Volvo Cars, BMW, and Volkswagen.

Gigafactories are facilities that produce batteries for electric vehicles on a large scale. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been widely credited as coining the term.

Read more about electric vehicles from CNBC Pro

Northvolt’s most recent funding announcement comes at a time when major European economies are laying out plans to move away from road-based vehicles that use diesel and gasoline.

Advertisement

The U.K., for instance, wants to stop the sale of new diesel and gasoline cars and vans by 2030. It will require, from 2035, all new cars and vans to have zero-tailpipe emissions. The European Union — which the U.K. left on Jan. 31, 2020 — is pursuing similar targets.

As the number of electric vehicles on our roads increases, the competition to develop factories capable of manufacturing EV batteries at scale is intensifying, with companies like Tesla and VW looking to establish a foothold in the sector.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Northvolt’s CEO and co-founder, Peter Carlsson — who previously worked for Tesla — was bullish about the future. 

“The combination of political decision making, customers committing even more firmly to the transition to electric vehicles, and a very rapid rise in consumer demand for cleaner products, has created a perfect storm for electrification,” he said.

According to the International Energy Agency, electric vehicle sales hit 6.6 million in 2021. In the first quarter of 2022, EV sales came to 2 million, a 75% increase compared to the first three months of 2021.

Continue Reading

Business

Exclusive: Activating Purpose Inside One of America’s Largest Banks – TalkOfNews.com

Published

on

By

Activating Purpose Inside One of America’s Largest Banks

#Activating #Purpose #Americas #Largest #Banks

In 2022, Purpose has moved from the periphery of company strategy to its core. The Purpose Power Index 2022, the first empirical study of Purpose based brands, confirms that Purpose significantly contributes to increasing people’s willingness to buy from and work for a company. 

Despite this growing understanding, a big challenge remains. Only 10% of CMOs have activated their Purpose inside and outside their organizations (Kantar). And among those who do, recent studies indicate that 80-85% of Purpose initiatives fail in execution. 

So, who is doing it, and doing it well?

Vinoo Vijay is Chief Marketing Officer at Truist, one of the largest commercial banks in the nation. He also happens to be one of the top CMOs in the country who is activating the company’s purpose effectively. This interview puts Vijay at the center of activating purpose. He agreed to talk to me, and he relishes the opportunity to pass on what he has learned in the process. 

1.   What is Truist’s Purpose?

Our purpose is to inspire and build better lives and communities. This purpose has been our core grounding from the inception of Truist three years ago. It’s clear to us that scaled modern banking is just table stakes.  What drives us, and makes us distinctive, is our absolute commitment to our shared purpose, mission, and values. Our belief is that a reimagined combination of touch and technology, combined with our deep teammate, client and community focus, puts us on the path to live our purpose every day.

2.   When you were considering the offer to come to Truist and how did you know you’d be collaborating with leaders who believe in building a purpose-driven bank?

Your question includes an important and correct assumption. I had no interest in being the CMO of just another bank. I had already served as CMO at TD Bank, as well as created and ran brand and marketing at Ally Financial.  What was, and is, important to me is having an active and positive impact on colleagues and communities, and it was obvious as I spoke with Truist leaders that they were deeply driven by purpose. Even now, we center our work in purpose. It’s a constant reminder of our why.  And because we are a wholly new brand and reimagined bank, we have an incredible opportunity to translate our purpose intention into a genuinely different kind of banking experience.

3.   Knowing that Truist’s Purpose is larger than simply increasing the number of new checking accounts, why does it need a purpose?

Advertisement

For the longest time the key focus and message of banking was around security. Imagine the imposing bank branch with six-inch thick walls protecting your money. That era was followed by one that emphasized scale. The sheer power of size. Think 60-story buildings. And for the last 15 years or so, the industry focus has been digital utility as digital became ubiquitous. Maximizing utility within our mobile six-inch screen. In the last couple of years, we are seeing a shift towards a focus on the communal. What I mean by that is, we’re recognizing that we don’t live in a vacuum. That we have shared experiences. And our actions impact others, and the actions of others impact ours. Think six degrees of separation multiplied. Our collective wellbeing is inexorably linked. This era demands that we find and create shared, common purpose beyond ourselves. In fact, we crave it. Whether as a teammate, or as a client. So the question now is not whether we need purpose, but how well can we deliver on purpose for our teammates, clients, and communities. Just as security, scale, or digital utility was the hallmark of our past, purpose is the blueprint for our future.

4.   Communicating that purpose must be challenging. In a new study, less than 25% of CMOs are not activating the company purpose; what’s been your strategy? 

Challenging, yes. Impossible, no. Activating purpose presented wide open whitespace for Truist. Banks do well meeting the functional banking needs of clients and communities. We get the functional job done. But the emotional needs. The more human needs. The needs that, if met, reinforce trust and commonalities. That inspire and build better lives and communities. Those needs aren’t typically being met by financial services providers. We knew that if we could find a way to both reinforce internally and, establish externally, our legitimate claim of being a more purposeful bank, we could stand apart. To your point, however, the language and visualization of purpose can lack believability and feel trite. It’s easy to be cynical about emotional attributes. Truist’s approach has been to go at it from the inside out starting with leadership. Our Truist Leadership Institute specializes in leadership development that focuses on the whole person and how their beliefs, especially their purpose, influence their leadership style. Leaders are tasked with not only identifying their purpose, but writing it down and leading from their personal purpose.

As we thought about how to translate our intention into an external narrative, we looked at language we already use internally. One of our key values is Care. Care is an encompassing word. It’s intentional. It’s focused on others. It alludes to a belief in and departure from industry indifference. It speaks to how we show up for teammates, clients, and communities.  So we leaned into that word, and framed our position that “When you start with Care, you get a different kind of bank.” And we believe that to be true.  Care can affect how people experience the brand.  And if we can apply the power of a safe, scaled, digitally capable bank – with Care – then we will create a different kind of bank. That promise is how we think about our strategy, our experience development, our teammate development, and a  vibrantly local community approach.

5.   Truist today is everywhere, on TV, on billboards, on social media, on sports stadiums, how important is it to build your brand?

We are a new brand. And our scale demands we are in the top 3-5 bank brands in terms of awareness and consideration. Given there are several industry brands that have close to 100% awareness, we have our work cut out for us. As we journey there, our approach is to lean into what makes us unique – our purpose, a relentless pursuit to activate our purpose through Care, our focus on human touch and technology, and our vibrantly local emphasis on community engagement. 

6.   It seems like the CMO function is undergoing change.  What do you see in the future of Marketing and the role of a CMO?

I’ve been in the marketing function for almost 30 years and have been head of marketing or CMO for more than a decade. The marketing function has gone through a couple of key evolutions and is going through one now. Thirty years ago, the big shift in marketing was enabled by the emergence of relational databases. That put marketers on the front end of direct marketing acquisition strategies.  The emergence of digital was the next transformational moment, driving marketers to become CRM and client experience champions. Now, I think the shift is toward deepened integration of brand and purpose. Marketers need to be the champions of purpose, always connecting the work to the deeper “why.”

7.   So when you’re sitting around the table with Bill Rogers, the CEO and Chairman of Truist, talking about strategy and what to do next, what keeps you centered? Do you think about the purpose on a daily basis? 

I do. My personal purpose is to elevate the power of care and joy in my daily life. For me that means using every interaction to exchange a little bit of care, a little bit of joy with whomever I am with. I find the more honest and authentic I am, the better my chances are of having interactions that result in successful exchanges of care and joy. At the end of the day our lives are made up of millions of individual moments. The more of those moments have heart and happiness, the more I think our life is one well lived.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.
Advertisement

Continue Reading

Exclusive

Copyright © 2022 Talk Of News.