Technology

Decision making: 5 potential AI risks and how to avoid them

Fearful of missing the tech zeitgeist, companies are fast investing in artificial intelligence. However, is AI necessarily the answer for your business? We talk to tech experts highlight the potential risks to consider which range from design, data security, decision bias, misguided shareholders and the skills’ gap within your team.

Gender and cultural bias

“92 per cent of AI is designed by white, straight males, therefore inclusion and diversity might not be taken into consideration. This is a fundamental flaw in the design. Imagine that you are using AI in retail and your objective is to understand the consumers better. Consumers could be female, male, old, young, wealthy, poor, wasteful or thrifty. They may even follow a religious diet or a healthy one. They all think differently, prioritise different product features and have their own decision-making process. The design should reflect this pluralism.” Bretton Putter, founder of Culture Gene

Unsecure data

“Depending on the terms of service of the platform you are using, be wary that the service provider might have access to your data. Don’t cut corners when it comes to security.” Sanford Dickert, CEO at OWLR Technologies

Getting distracted by flashy new technology

“Are you trying to impress an audience today or become the long-term game-changer? AI is a buzzword, just like big data and machine learning. Spectacular digital interfaces and flashing lights in a server room are great words for marketing video scripts and strong images for commercials, but even the best impression does not take longer than a few days to fade away.

“See it like hiring a senior manager or a consultant. You would run multiple rounds of interviews, look into the professional background of the candidates and consider their appointment seriously, so that you know how they take you to the next level of business evolution. The same strategy should be applied when implementing new technology.” Sanford Dickert

Placing too much stock in shareholder opinions

“Shareholders are humans too. They may fall in love with flashy technology, or they may dislike it; they may put pressure on the board to invest, or they may tighten the budget and stand in the way of innovation. Do not try to please the shareholders if you know that their approach to implementing AI is misguided. The cliché is true: put the customer first – this is your North Star. Once you know which direction you need to take the business you will know what you need from AI.” Sanford Dickert

Implementing AI where you are already strong

“Take a look at the skills gap and the weaknesses in your organisation. Try to explore the opportunities offered by AI in these areas.” Andy Scott, Founding Partner @7pcventures


by Anna Delaney

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