AI in Enterprises: 86% Recognize Need for Ethics, but Only 6% Have Policies 

Many businesses today leverage or are considering leveraging AI in their organizations. But how prepared are they regarding AI ethics and corporate responsibility? Conversica has released the findings of its latest survey to provide more insights on this topic.

Although regulatory bodies globally are yet to establish specific rules for AI, granting AI providers flexibility in launching products with varying levels of reliability, most organizations lack clear principles and guidelines for the responsible and ethical use of this technology.

“From an enterprise perspective, these figures are concerning, especially considering the vast array of AI products and services expected to become available in the coming years and the potentially significant impact they will have on the future of business. This could represent a problematic trend for companies that haven’t started planning to enforce responsible and ethical use of AI. Business leaders must get ahead of these issues now,” said Jim Kaskade, CEO of Conversica.

Most businesses see the need for AI guidelines  

Among companies already integrating AI into their operations, 86% recognize the importance of establishing explicit guidelines for the responsible utilization of AI technology.

However, merely 6% of organizations have implemented policies to govern the responsible deployment of AI. This percentage drops further to 5% among companies intending to adopt AI within the next year.

Additionally, 20% of business leaders in organizations leveraging AI are unaware of their policies concerning crucial AI-related matters, such as security, transparency, accuracy, and ethics.

Among the concerns raised by companies that have already embraced AI technology, the top three include a lack of transparency (22%), the propagation of false information (21%), and the accuracy of data models (20%).

Organizations are aware of the importance of well-established ethical principles  

The survey's data indicates that companies presently employing AI or intending to do so within the next year are more inclined to recognize the significance of establishing well-defined ethical principles for responsible AI utilization.

Specifically, 86% of business leaders in organizations already utilizing AI stress the importance of policies concerning AI ethics. In contrast, among the entire group surveyed, 73% acknowledge this importance. However, despite their awareness of these policies, only 5% of leaders in AI-adopting companies currently possess clear, established ethical guidelines for AI usage.

According to the survey, many business leaders at AI-using companies lack a comprehensive understanding of their organization's policies related to AI aspects such as security, transparency, accuracy, and ethics. Specifically, one in five business leaders admits to having limited or no knowledge regarding these AI-related policies. Furthermore, 36% of respondents consider themselves only moderately familiar with these issues.

Respondents cite two primary challenges when making informed decisions regarding AI usage. The first is the scarcity of resources dedicated to ensuring data security and transparency, which is a concern for 43% of those surveyed. The second challenge involves identifying AI providers whose ethical standards align with those of their respective companies, a difficulty acknowledged by 40% of respondents.

What are the main concerns when it comes to AI? 

Business leaders plan to leverage AI primarily for 'external engagement' within the next year, focusing on customer service and marketing/sales outreach, as indicated by 39% of respondents. 'Insights' involving tasks like fraud detection, data analytics, and predictive modeling closely follow at 36%.

Concerns related to AI adoption are different depending on a company's current stage of AI implementation. The top three concerns are the technology's lack of transparency (22%), the accuracy of AI-generated data models (20%), and the potential for false information (21%).

Companies that do not intend to adopt AI-powered services within the next year generally do not express concerns about AI (29%). Among those who do express concerns, the top concern is related to legal matters, including implications, patent infringements, plagiarism, and copyright violations (11%).

When questioned about their level of concern regarding false information generated by AI, 77% of all respondents find it either 'Concerning' or 'Very concerning.' This concern is even higher, at 88%, among respondents whose companies have already implemented AI-powered solutions.

Regarding employee use of popular AI-based tools like ChatGPT, most respondents (56%) indicate that their company either has established rules or is considering implementing a usage policy.