Organizations must address ethics in AI to gain consumers’ trust

The ethical use of AI is becoming fundamental to winning people’s trust, a new study from the Capgemini Research Institute has found. As organisations progress to harness the benefits of AI, consumers, employees and citizens are watching closely and are ready to reward or punish behaviour. Those surveyed said that they would be more loyal to, purchase more from, or be an advocate for organisations whose AI interactions are deemed ethical.

Executives in nine out of 10 organisations believe that ethical issues have resulted from the use of AI systems over the last 2-3 years, with examples such as collection of personal patient data without consent in healthcare, and over-reliance on machine-led decisions without disclosure in banking and insurance. Executives cited reasons including the pressure to urgently implement AI, the failure to consider ethics when constructing AI systems, and a lack of resources dedicated to ethical AI systems.

  • 62% of respondents said they would place higher trust in a company whose AI interactions they perceived as ethical
  • 61% said they would share positive experiences with friends and family while 59% said that they would have higher loyalty to the company, and 55% said that they would purchase more products and provide high ratings and positive feedback on social media
  • By contrast, when consumers’ AI interactions result in ethical issues, it threatens both reputation and the bottom line: 41% said they would complain in case an AI interaction resulted in ethical issues, 36% would demand an explanation and 34% would stop interacting with the company

A classic way of gaining trust, with AI interactions in particular, can be summarised in three words: transparency, accountability, and empowerment. That means transparency so that people can see what you are doing; accountability because you take responsibility for what you are doing; and empowerment because you put people in charge to tell you if something you did was not right or not good.

Luciano Floridi, director of Digital Ethics Labs, Oxford Internet Institute

A copy of the report can be downloaded here.