There’s no shortage of promises when it comes to AI. Some say it will solve all problems while others warn it will bring about the end of the world as we know it. Both positions regularly play out in Hollywood plotlines like Westworld, Carbon Black, Minority Report, Her, and Ex Machina. Those stories are compelling because they require us as creators and consumers of AI technology to decide whether we trust an AI system or, more precisely, trust what the system is doing with the information it has been given.
The ability to do this successfully is largely dependent on user data. System performance, reliability, and user confidence in AI model output is affected as much by the quality of the model design as the data going into it. Data is the fuel that powers the AI engine that virtually converts the potential energy of user data into kinetic energy in the form of actionable insights and intelligent output. Just as filling a Formula 1 race car with poor or tainted fuel would diminish performance, and the driver’s ability to compete, an AI system trained with incorrect or inadequate data can produce inaccurate or unpredictable results that break user trust. Once broken, trust is hard to regain. That is why rigorous data stewardship practices by AI developers and vendors are critical for building effective AI models as well as creating customer acceptance, satisfaction, and retention.
Responsible data stewardship establishes a chain of trust that extends from consumers to the companies collecting user data and those of us building AI-powered systems. It’s our responsibility to know and understand privacy laws and policies and consider security and compliance during the primary design phase. We must have a deep understanding of how the data is used and who has access to it. We also need to detect and eliminate hidden biases in the data through comprehensive testing.
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Regarding to AI Ethics, Michael Dukakis Institute for Leadership and Innovation (MDI) and Artificial Intelligence World Society (AIWS.net) has developed AIWS Ethics and Practice Index to measure the extent to which a government’s AI activities respects human values and contributes to the constructive use of AI. The Index has four components by which government performance is assessed including transparency, regulation, promotion and implementation.