Artificial intelligence is developing so quickly that standardized responsible practices—set out in legislation, regulation or industry codes—may take many years to adequately govern intelligent technologies. In the meantime, organizations must self-regulate to ensure AI is used responsibly. But what should this self-regulation look like? And can it work effectively without blocking innovation?
People have been playing the strategic board game Go for 2,500 years. In 2016, Google Deepmind’s AI-powered Go player, AlphaGo, defeated the human world champion, Lee Sedol.
At a pivotal moment in the match, AlphaGo made a bizarre move. "It's not a human move,” a fellow professional Go player said, “I've never seen a human play this move." But it helped AlphaGo to win.
AI is full of such surprises, not all of them as “beautiful” as AlphaGo’s new strategy. Amazon, for example, tried to remove the algorithmic biases in their machine learning recruitment tool that developed a bias against female candidates, but unfortunately was unable to and had to abandon its use. Recent events like this might explain why, in our global research survey of business leaders, we found that 88 percent of respondents do not have confidence in AI-based decisions and outputs.
AI is not just less predictable than traditional computer programming; it is also newer (to most organizations) and already transforming many industries. In the same global survey, we found that 85 percent of business leaders expect AI to open up new products, services, business models and markets, while 78 percent expect AI to disrupt their industry in the next 10 years.
Since AI is both powerful and, at times, unpredictable, there has been growing interest in the responsible governance of AI applications. Businesses are wary of the possible, unintended consequences when working with AI, and have ramped up this interest. But the concern is that the wrong kind of regulation can stifle innovation and hold back the benefits of AI projects. In other words, there is an immediate need for good AI governance that allows for innovation to flourish.