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Do companies need an AI ethics policy? Most tech leaders say yes.

by | Feb 27, 2020 | Public Relations

As artificial intelligence becomes a more pivotal part of business strategy, many are worried that misuse or exploitation of the technology can have damaging or disastrous results, and new research from professional services firm KPMG reveals that many tech sector leaders think it needs to be more carefully monitored and integrated.

Nearly 90 percent of technology company decision-makers believe companies in all industries should implement an AI ethics policy to help govern their AI work, according to the firm’s new report, based on a survey of 150 U.S. tech sector leaders. Also, most respondents (69 percent) are in favor of some level of government involvement in regulating AI.

In the study, tech executives shared their views on the future of AI in their sector as well as the steps they are taking to maximize its benefits and mitigate its challenges. The tech findings are part of a larger KPMG-commissioned survey of 751 business decision-makers across five sectors: technology, transportation, retail, healthcare, and financial services.

“Companies that are embedding AI and other forms of digitization into every process and functionality are disrupting the competition,” said Sreekar Krishna, KPMG principal innovation and AI-enabled digital transformation, in a news release. “Those with big legacy technology infrastructures, who have been hesitant to invest, are being left behind.”

AI and jobs

More than a third of technology industry decision-makers (37 percent) are worried that AI could replace their positions. Technology sector executives see skills gaps as one of the most prominent challenges to developing and adopting AI. While 61 percent feel existing employees are prepared for AI adoption, they need more workers who are ready for AI—and they need to improve how they are integrated into the business.

“The tech sector’s search for talent, not only in AI but across multiple digital skills, is one of the factors contributing to the rise of tech hubs, where talent, infrastructure and economics converge to produce these capabilities,” said Tim Zanni, KPMG global and U.S. technology sector leader, in the release. “Tech companies must address the needs of their current and future workforces, and quickly achieving that balance sets the stage for long-term success.”

Do companies need an AI ethics policy? Most tech leaders say yes.

AI adoption by technology companies

Most technology industry respondents (62 percent) believe that AI adoption is moving at an appropriate speed across their industry, but a greater majority (73 percent) think their company should be even more aggressive in AI investment and adoption, especially in the area of organizational improvement efficiencies.

Technology sector respondents said leveraging the spectrum of AI technologies will make their companies run more efficiently, with machine learning (59 percent)—computing’s ability to improve performance without the need to follow programmed instructions—expected to have the greatest impact, followed by deep learning and facial recognition.

Read the full report here.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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