Almost 90% of Consumers Urge Responsible Measures for Inclusive AI Technology

As many as 86% of respondents believe that retailers should take proactive measures to enhance the diversity, equity, and inclusivity of AI technologies, according to a recent survey by Talkdesk. This is underscored by the experiences of 64% of shoppers who have encountered AI-powered product recommendations that failed to align with their preferences, interests, or past shopping behaviors, with even higher percentages among Hispanic (72%) and Black (69%) consumers.

“The power of AI is undeniable as retailers increasingly leverage it to build stronger customer relationships and offer a more personalized shopping experience. That being said, without the proper commitment to responsible AI, it could have the power to do the exact opposite. Retailers operate in an environment where every single customer interaction matters. If their AI strategy does not ensure the application of this technology is responsible and ethical, they risk losing their customer base,” said Shannon Flanagan, General Manager and Vice President of Retail & Consumer Goods at Talkdesk.

The survey emphasizes the growing concern for the ethical and transparent use of AI in the retail sector. Surveys by Ketch and Deloitte talk about the ethical usage of AI and generative AI in other sectors.

Almost half (44%) of respondents expressed worry that AI could compromise the inclusivity of the shopping experience if not deployed responsibly. Hispanic (50%) and Asian (52%) consumers are the most apprehensive in this regard. Additionally, only 39% of respondents believe that retailers adequately consider diverse communities when developing or implementing AI products.

The role of transparency  

Transparency emerges as a key theme in consumer expectations, with 87% of respondents advocating for the right to access and review the data collected by retailers. Additionally, 80% express the desire for retailers to explicitly seek their consent for using their data in AI applications, and a similar percentage (80%) would place more trust in product recommendations if retailers were transparent about their AI usage. However, only 28% of shoppers express confidence in retailers' security measures to protect the data informing their AI technology or products.

Consumer sentiment at the forefront  

The survey underscores the need for retailers to focus more on consumer sentiments and preferences in shaping their AI strategies. A significant 71% of respondents admit to never purchasing a recommended product due to concerns about perceived surveillance by brands, while 45% fear a loss of personalization in their online shopping experience due to retailers' perceived lack of responsible AI practices.

To address these concerns and meet consumer expectations, the report recommends that retailers develop internal policies to guide ethical AI use (88% agreement), actively monitor, control, and mitigate AI bias (86% agreement), and engage in proactive communication with customers regarding AI use and potential biases in their services (83% agreement).

Another Talkdesk report offers valuable insights into the current and future customer expectations within the banking and credit union sectors and the role of AI on this path.