CBI sets out urgent requirement for internal and external communication on AI

Ethics, employee engagement and wider stakeholder management are the three pillars of the CBI’s report AI: Ethics into practice.

UK businesses have an opportunity to lead by example and take an ethical approach to the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) according to the CBI.

AI represents a significant growth opportunity for the UK. It is set to transform how we live and work. It’s already happening in many sectors from analysing millions of legal documents to detecting financial fraud.

A new report AI: Ethics into Practice (opens as a PDF) published by the CBI shows that AI will impact almost all sectors of the economy by 2021.

In the public relations sector AI is transforming media and workflow. It is also creating opportunities for practitioners to help organisations communicate about AI and its impact on society.

Venture capital investment into the UK’s AI sector has risen almost six-fold in the last five years according to TechNation. In 2018 AI companies raised almost twice the investment of counterparts in France and Germany.

A recent PwC study published in 2017 estimated innovation in AI could fuel GDP growth of ten percent by 2030. That’s equivalent to adding more than £200 billion to the economy. Follow this link to access the full report.

UK AI Industrial Strategy

AI and Data are one of the four so-called Grand Challenges set out in the government’s Industrial Strategy in November 2017. The three other areas are clean growth, the future of mobility and the ageing society.

AI is also the subject of a Sector Deal aimed at partnership between government and industry to create significant opportunities to boost productivity, employment, innovation and skills.

The Office for Artificial Intelligence is taking responsibility for overseeing the AI and Data Grand Challenge and delivering the commitments as set out in the AI Sector Deal.

An AI Council and Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation have also been established. The Council brings together academia, industry and public sector. The Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation provides independent, expert advice on AI and data-driven technologies.

Opportunity for professional communicators

According to the CBI businesses face key ethical issues to empower employees to explain complex algorithmic decisions to customers. It calls on businesses leaders to address challenges in three areas related to ethics, employee engagement and stakeholder engagement.

Embed ethics at the core of your approach to AI

  • Evaluate how AI fits into existing governance frameworks. Consider creating new principles or frameworks, by adapting external codes such as the NHS code of conduct for AI

  • Introduce human oversight of AI systems

  • Check suppliers and customers align with a firm’s ethical principles

Engage employees so they can participate in an AI-powered workplace and improve data and diversity to improve algorithms

  • Prepare all employees for working in an environment that is rapidly changing and embrace a culture of lifelong learning and embed upskilling

  • Designate time and resource for developers to think about the impact of their products and services and have processes for workers to raise ethical concerns.

  • Use tools to test algorithms for unfair bias and take action to make data sets more inclusive

Explain AI to customers, from data security and privacy to how an algorithm will use data to come to a decision

  • Inform people when decisions are being taken by algorithms and take steps to explain the factors that will impact on a decision

  • Highlight to customers when they are interacting with AI

  • Build robust cyber security practices for general IT systems and AI products

The CBI report AI: Ethics into Practice contains practical advice and commentary on managing emerging issues related to AI in each of these three areas.

PRWeek Strategic Internal Communications conference

I’ll be speaking about the challenge of communicating with internal audiences about AI at the PRWeek Strategic Internal Communications conference in London on 6 December. Follow this link for more information.

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Professional advisor for agencies and communication teams, Wadds Inc. Author: #brandvandals, Exploring PR and Management Communication. #PRstack, Share This, and others. Visiting Professor, Newcastle University.

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