Forget the negative comments, the unsure colleagues, and general science fiction painted pictures of AI that you have been fed your entire life. From my personal exercise as an AI proponent for the past three decades I know that the power AI has for doing good is exponentially better than anything negative.
There is only one thing that causes AI to do harm. People.
Fortunately for all of us there are leaders and visionaries across the globe that are paving the way and setting examples for every business to follow when implementing and leveraging the massive power that AI possesses. These people are AI Ethicists.
Qualifications of an AI Ethicist
To start, an AI ethicist generally should have an understanding of AI tools and technology of the business and the industry and the specific AI ethical traps that exist in them, good communication skills and the ability to work across organizational boundaries and regulatory, legal, and policy knowledge.
Beyond this skill set, the ideal AI ethicist for a company would possess a diverse perspective, have in their background interdisciplinary work experience, deep understanding of processes and policies both internal and governmental and be an excellent public speaker with the ability to project confidence when training or presenting to both internal stakeholders and external partners or clients.
This position currently exists at many companies under different names such as Data Privacy and Ethics Lead (Qantas), Chief AI Ethics Lead (US Army Artificial Intelligence Task Force), Director of Responsible Innovation & Responsible Innovation Manager (Facebook) and several others.
Though across the industry there are countless people filling the role of an AI ethicist, here is a list of fifteen you should study and follow as your company’s use of AI evolves. They set the proper example of how to implement and scale the use of AI in a safe and ethical manner while simultaneously positively affecting the bottom line.
COL David Barnes
Professor, United States Military Academy (USMA) and Deputy Head of the Department of English and Philosophy, Chief AI Ethics Officer for the US Army’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) Task Force
In addition to his life of service to his country Col. Barnes’ work focuses on how to include more diverse, rigorous, and meaningful conversation surrounding the responsible design, development, and deployment of AI systems among government, industry and academia.
Global AI Ethicist at DataRobot
Recently appointed to her position at DataRobot Dr. Mahmoudian stated that “When used properly, AI can be a force for good and help contribute solutions to some of society’s most pressing issues, such as access to equitable healthcare,” …“The COVID-19 pandemic has inspired unprecedented interest in AI. However, to accomplish those goals we must ensure machine learning systems have trustworthy and ethical parameters built in from the start.”
Chief Ethics Officer at Hypergiant
In a recent interview with Apogeo Spatial Griffin discussed that at Hypergiant their process is “to evangelize to the developers and the designers the burden of proof … is on the developers and the designers to be creative and imagine all of the impacts on…society and to create a technology in a way that minimizes those impacts and maximizes the benefits.”
IBM fellow and AI Ethics Global Leader
In her work at IBM she is striving to “provide consumer and industrial users of cognitive systems a vital voice in the advancement of the defining technology of this century – one that will foster collaboration between people and machines to solve some of the world’s most enduring problems – in a way that is both trustworthy and beneficial.”
Chief Ethical and Humane Use Officer at Salesforce
Working for a data gathering and organizing giant like Salesforce ethical use of AI and data must be paramount. In her role, Goldman is working daily to “make sure that the solutions that we develop are developed inclusively and with those populations (communities of color) top of mind, with and for those populations…And so we’re actively involving diverse experts…And we’re looking out for ways in which products could be unintentionally misused.”
Chief AI Ethics Officer and Managing Director & Partner at BCG
In his work Mills shows an excellent example to try and emulate in his insistence that “An AI product is never just an algorithm. It’s a full end-to-end system and all the [related] business processes…You could go to great lengths to ensure that your algorithm is as bias-free as possible but you have to think about the whole end-to-end value chain from data acquisition to algorithms to how the output is being used within the business.”
VP of Engineering Google
Dr. Croak’s work at Google is integral to the way AI affects nearly everyone’s life, especially all of us with a smartphone or a Gmail address. A tremendous question she asks that I agree with is around the fact that “there’s a lot of dissension, a lot of conflict in terms of trying to standardize on normative definitions of these principles. Whose definition of fairness, or safety, are we going to use? …what I’d like to do is have people have the conversation in a more diplomatic way, perhaps, than we’re having it now, so we can truly advance this field.”
Chief AI Ethics Advisor at Paravison
Adams’ work around Face recognition technology is forced on its development and deployment around ethical intentions and safeguards. Her expertise in addressing AI racial bias will be integral in a future of ethical use of AI that contains no inherent bias.
Head of Responsible AI & Data at H&M Group
Leopold’s mission at H&M is to leverage AI to achieve a climate positive value chain by 2040. Through their use of AI-driven demand prediction is at the heart of their mission to optimize the supply chain to eliminate waste and redundancies. This mission will not only help the bottom line, but also do a part to save the environment.
Microsoft Chief Responsible AI Officer
Ms. Crampton is leading Microsoft’s mission in the field of responsible AI to put their “principles into practice by taking a people-centered approach to the research, development, and deployment of AI.” As is the case at another tech giant Google, Microsoft is dedicating itself to the ethical use of AI is paramount in ensuring an ethical future for AI globally.
Director, Responsible AI Leader, PwC
Golbin believes in an approach to AI of your use of AI living up to your company’s core values. Building trust from all stakeholders and the public requires an organization to use all data and tech responsibility. By staying true to your values not only in sales and customer service, but in all use of technology guarantees ethical use of AI.
Lead, Responsible AI/Machine Learning, Acting Head of ML Strategy, BBC
Myrna is focused on developing the right tools and resources to incorporate the BBC’s values and mission into the technology that it builds. A massive media company like the BBC that is respected worldwide committing the ethical use of AI sets a standard in their industry that puts all their peers on notice.
Accenture North America Practice Lead for Responsible AI
When working with their clients Accenture under Tricarico’s guidance focuses on “on guiding (their) clients to more safely scale their use of AI, and build a culture of confidence within their organizations.” Not all companies have an established north star of AI use. Companies and partners like Accenture are vital to these companies and their proper and ethical use of the technology.
Executive Director Global AI Institute and AI/Tech Ethics Lead at Deloitte
Deloitte is focused on achieving maximum human and machine collaboration. To do this they work to communicate their values on use of AI to every single member of their organization, no matter their level. This gets all of their people on one page which then translates when any of them communicate with external stakeholders.