FAQ’s / Fact Sheet on ethical AI

FAQ’s on Artificial Intelligence

1. What is artificial intelligence?

AI or Artificial Intelligence is the ability of machines to perform tasks usually done by humans. Machines are trained to perform these tasks by using a series of codes and inputting data. After performing the task several times, the machines learn to do the task faster and better.

2. Where does the input data come from?

The data that gets fed into the algorithms and programs is fed in from digital platforms that request information from us daily, using that information we input as users and consumers on platforms and software, companies use this data to inform the algorithms as part of the human decision-making element.

3. Why does AI matter?

With operational life moving towards digital and online platforms its important for us to understand our actions and where our information is going and how it is being used. As life moves to migrate to more digital platforms AI will become more evident than it already is in daily life.

4. How does it affect daily life?

AI is already a massive part of our daily lives, from smaller things like social media and predictive text to bigger daily tasks like loan applications and online shopping. The daily use of AI varies within regions, but AI can even affect the information that we see online.

5. Why is ethics in Ai important?

Technology is not necessarily good or bad, but it depends on the way it is used. This is the same for AI. AI is developing rapidly and how companies and organisations use, write and out it out is imperative on what the technology is used for. Ethical principles in Ai will ensure stricture rules that govern what the technology is used for to ensure that it is used for good rather than further creating social challenges- globally.

Ethics in AI isn’t only important for companies in terms of governance but also for the consumer to start being conscious about what technology they support and give their information to. This creates a better trust between consumers and companies and better trusting relationships in the private sector.

6. Why should you care about AI?

In today’s world, every moment we spend online, whether on our smartphones using Tik Tok or Instagram, or on our computers, or even ordering food either on a mobile app or on a giant screen at a McDonald’s, we are providing data to many parties; data that many times we are not even aware is being collected or the purpose of its use. This data is also increasingly being used to train machines to do tasks that can be automated. As more and more of our lives become digitized and automated, the decisions of what and how things will work may come from calculations being performed using our data and artificial intelligence.

Does it matter if you are a luddite and avoid using technology at all costs? Probably, as the decisions being made to automate things around you are being done by using data that excludes you.

7. What is the social impact or potential impact of AI?

AI can be used to make our lives easier, medical research faster, meteorological data more accurate and the list goes on, but it can also have unintended consequences. As AI is trained by using existing data that tends to be biased (often times excluding underrepresented groups like women, LGBTQIA+ groups, ethnic and racial minorities, etc.), we could be training AI to continue to be biased or worse, be better at being biased. This has already happened, as an AI-enabled recruitment programme used at Amazon was found to be biased against women in hiring and had to be terminated. Similarly, the U.S. government confirmed that the facial recognition tool they used powered by AI worked more effectively for the faces of middle-aged white males, and this bias is likely to lead to wrongful arrests of underrepresented groups. While these could be seen as examples of unintended consequences of the use of AI, the really scary thought is if AI is used and developed to cause harm, and to intentionally exclude and discriminate different groups of people. But alternatively, you could also program the AI algorithms to intentionally include the groups that have usually been excluded, so teaching the AI to eliminate harmful biases.

More importantly, as AI is trained by using all the data that we provide on a daily basis, it is crucial that companies are transparent about the way our data is used, managed, and owned and how it makes up the ethical handrails that companies use in the development and use of AI.

8. Oh, so AI is bad?

Not necessarily, it all depends on how you train the machine. You can train the machine to repeat inefficient or discriminatory patterns from the past or you can programme the machine to make sure those patterns are not repeated. For example: like in hiring or in banks giving out loans.


Find out more about advancing ethical and responsible AI and join our Launch event  for the The Collective Impact Coalition (CIC) for Digital Inclusion 


CIC Launch on Ethics in AI
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