Responsibility for AI ethics shifts from Tech Silo to broader executive champions, says IBM study

– 80% of respondents to this year’s survey cited a non-technical CEO as the primary advocate for AI ethics, compared to 15% in 2018

– 79% of CEOs surveyed are willing to implement AI ethics practices, but less than a quarter of organizations have taken action on them

68% of organizations acknowledge the importance of diversity in mitigating bias in AI, but respondents indicated that their AI teams are: 5.5 times less inclusive of women, 4 times less inclusive of LGBT people and 1.7 times less inclusive of racism

April 14, 2022

Armonk, New YorkAnd April 14, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — A new study by the Institute for Business Value (IBV) for IBM (NYSE: IBM) reveals a fundamental shift in the roles responsible for leading and supporting the ethics of artificial intelligence in the organization. When asked which job is primarily responsible for AI ethics, 80% of respondents cited a non-technical CEO, such as the CEO, as the primary “champion” of AI ethics, a sharp rise from 15% in 2018.

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What function is primarily responsible for the ethics of artificial intelligence?

What function is primarily responsible for the ethics of artificial intelligence?

The global study* also notes that despite the strong need to promote trustworthy AI, including better performance than peers in sustainability, social responsibility, diversity and inclusion, a gap still exists between leaders intent and purposeful actions.. The study found:

Business managers are now seen as the driving force in AI ethics

  • CEOs (28%) – but also board members (10%), general advisors (10%), privacy officers (8%), and risk and compliance staff (6%) are considered the most responsible for AI ethics by those surveyed. .
  • While 66% of respondents indicated that the CEO or other C-level executive has a strong influence on their organization’s ethics strategy, more than half cited the guidance of the Board of Directors (58%) and the community of shareholders (53%).

Building trustworthy AI is seen as a strategic differentiator and organizations are starting to implement AI ethics mechanisms.

  • More than three-quarters of business leaders surveyed this year agree that AI ethics are important to their organizations, up from nearly 50% in 2018.
  • At the same time, 75% of survey respondents believe ethics is a source of competitive differentiation, and more than 67% of respondents who see AI and AI ethics as important indicate that their organizations outperform their peers in sustainability, social responsibility, diversity, and inclusion.
  • Many companies are starting to make strides. In fact, more than half of respondents say their organizations have taken steps to include AI ethics in their current approach to business ethics.
  • More than 45% of survey respondents said their organizations had established AI-specific ethical mechanisms, such as the AI ​​Project Risk Assessment Framework and the audit/review process.

Ensuring that ethical principles are embedded in AI solutions is an urgent need for organizations, but progress is still very slow

  • More CEOs surveyed (79%) are now ready to include AI ethics in their AI practices – up from 20% in 2018 – and more than half of responding organizations have publicly endorsed the shared principles of AI ethics.
  • However, less than a quarter of responding organizations have activated AI ethics, and less than 20% of respondents strongly agree that their organizations’ practices and procedures match (or exceed) their stated principles and values.
  • 68% of the organizations surveyed acknowledge that having a diverse and inclusive workplace is important for mitigating bias in AI, but the findings suggest that AI teams are still significantly less diverse than their organizations’ workforce: 5.5 times less inclusive of women, 4 times less inclusive of LGBT+ individuals and 1.7 times less racially inclusive.

“As many companies today use AI algorithms across their businesses, they will likely face increasing internal and external demands to design these algorithms to be fair, foolproof, and trustworthy; however, there has been little progress across the industry in including AI ethics in their practices,” Jesus said. Mantas, Global Managing Partner, IBM Consulting.” IBV study results show that building trustworthy AI is a business imperative and societal expectation, not just a compliance issue. As such, companies can implement a governance model and embed ethical principles across the entire AI lifecycle.”

It’s time for companies to act now. The study data suggests that those organizations that implement a broad ethical strategy for AI nested across all business units may have a competitive advantage going forward. The study provides recommended actions for business leaders including:

  • Take a collaborative multi-functional approach Ethical AI requires a comprehensive approach and a comprehensive set of skills across all stakeholders involved in the AI ​​ethics process. C-Suite CEOs, designers, behavioral scientists, data scientists, and AI engineers all play a unique role in the AI ​​journey of trust.
  • Create both organizational lifecycle management and AI to operationalize the discipline of AI ethics Take a holistic approach to driving, managing and managing AI solutions across the full AI lifecycle, from creating the right culture for responsible AI development, through to practices and policies, to products.
  • Reach beyond your organization to partner – Expand your approach by identifying and engaging technology partners, academics, startups, and other ecosystem partners focused on AI to create “ethical interoperability.”

The IBV study, “Artificial Intelligence Ethics at Work: An Enterprise Guide to Advancing Trusted AI,” surveyed 1,200 CEOs in 22 countries across 22 industries to understand where CEOs stand on the importance of AI ethics and how organizations are enacting it. The study was conducted in association with Oxford Economics in 2021. The full study is available at reasont-leadership/institute-business-value/report/ai-ethics-in-action.

About the IBM Institute for Business Value
For two decades, the IBM Institute for Business Value has served as the think tank for IBM’s thought leadership. What inspires us is to produce strategic insights backed by research and informed by technology that help leaders make smarter business decisions.

From our unique location at the intersection of business, technology, and society, we poll, interview and engage thousands of executives, consumers, and experts each year, synthesizing their perspectives into authoritative, inspiring, and actionable insights.

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Media contact:
Marisa Conway
IBM’s external relations
[email protected]

75% of respondents see ethics as a source of competitive differentiation

Source IBM

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