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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Businesses advised how to ensure AI is used safely

UK business leaders have been urged to follow five steps before implementing any new artificial intelligence (AI) programmes or technologies within their organisations. 

Patrick Wake, group director of information security at FDM Group has offered insights into what businesses should do to ensure that AI is used safely and effectively by their workforce. 

He explains that AI can support businesses in various ways, from automating repetitive tasks to enhancing customer service experience. AI algorithms can also analyse vast amounts of data quickly, providing valuable insights and aiding in data-driven decision-making.

Risks need to be managed

However, Wake says that if it is not implemented and used correctly, the use of AI in businesses can present certain risks that need to be acknowledged and managed.

For example, there is a potential for biased decision-making if AI algorithms are trained on biased or unrepresentative data, leading to discriminatory outcomes. Another risk is the possibility of privacy breaches when dealing with sensitive user data.  

Mr Wake said: “AI can optimise various business processes leading to cost savings and improved resource allocation. In turn, this allows businesses to gain a competitive advantage in their markets.

“But if used incorrectly or if business leaders don’t prepare their organisations properly before implementing these AI-led programmes and software, it can also present significant risks.

“However, businesses can address these potential risks by doing their research, providing effective training to staff, refraining from inputting sensitive information into AI systems, and verifying any information and responses produced by AI programmes.”

Five ways to ensure AI is being used safely in your business:

Do your research

When businesses are starting to look at implementing AI programmes, it’s vital that they do their due diligence. Does the programme have a good reputation? What is its data set based on? Does it have bias?

Doing ample research will also help businesses understand the specific needs and goals they aim to achieve through AI integration. This will enable them to identify the most suitable AI technologies and providers that align with their requirements, as well as assess potential risks, limitations, and ethical considerations associated with AI usage. This will all help businesses ensure compliance and avoid any potential negative consequences.

Train your workforce

Businesses need to recognise the impact that AI implementation will have on the workforce and plan for effective change management. They should also provide sufficient training and support to help employees adapt to AI technologies whilst ensuring that they understand the benefits and limitations of AI to foster a smooth transition.

Training staff before implementing new AI technologies will help familiarise employees with the capabilities and functionalities of AI systems, enabling them to leverage these technologies effectively. Training also ensures that employees understand the purpose and potential benefits of AI, encouraging acceptance and ultimately reducing resistance to change. Additionally, it equips staff with the necessary skills to operate, monitor, and interpret the outputs of AI systems accurately. 

Keep private information safe

Businesses should refrain from uploading or inputting sensitive or private information into AI systems or chatbots to safeguard the privacy and security of their data. This is crucial to mitigate the risk of unauthorised access, data breaches, or misuse of sensitive information. 

By avoiding the inclusion of personal data, businesses can protect customer privacy, maintain compliance with data protection regulations, and mitigate potential legal and reputational risks. It is important to prioritise data protection measures and ensure that AI systems are designed and implemented with strong security protocols to maintain trust and confidentiality.

Verify information and responses

It is vital for businesses to verify the results, information, and responses generated by AI or chatbots to ensure accuracy and reliability, as generative AI systems can sometimes produce incorrect or biased outcomes due to limitations in training data or algorithmic biases. By verifying the outputs, businesses can avoid misinformation, prevent potential harm to customers, and uphold their reputation. 

Regular monitoring and verification will also help identify any system errors or anomalies, allowing for timely corrections.

Cite sources

Businesses should cite their sources when publishing data or information collected by AI systems to ensure transparency, credibility, and accountability. Citing sources allows others to verify the accuracy and legitimacy of the data, promoting trust and reliability. It also helps prevent the spread of misinformation and enables others to build upon the research or findings. 

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