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The rising importance of Artificial Intelligence in the modern world is undeniable, as it brings forth a multitude of applications and advantages that are transforming our way of life. Recent advances in AI, driven by the availability of data and computational power, have led to its widespread use in various sectors.

According to a forecast released in August by technology research firm IDC, worldwide business spending on AI is projected to reach $50 billion this year and grow to $110 billion annually by 2024. Among various industries, retail and banking have been the biggest spenders this year with investments exceeding $5 billion each. Looking ahead between 2018 and 2023, IDC predicts that industries such as media as well as federal and central governments will make significant investments in AI. Additionally, it anticipates that AI will have a disruptive impact on entire sectors over the next decade.

Impact of AI on society

AI has revolutionized the society in many ways. It has digitalized the world that we live in, to collect, process and study large chunks of data. The use of AI has also led to significant improvements in various sectors such as healthcare, transportation, and finance. It has helped take over repetitive tasks, reducing cost, labor, and time required. AI has provided a platform for innovation and has enabled businesses to make more informed decisions, improve efficiency, and enhance user experiences.

The growing popularity and usefulness of AI cannot be denied. But with such advancements come great responsibility. Responsible AI is a crucial aspect that ensures that the technology created is ethical, fair, and trustworthy.

Ethical Challenges faced by AI technology

Algorithm Bias: One of the major ethical concerns in the deployment of AI in important decision-making processes suffers from the risk of Algorithm Bias.

Usually, some systems are biased based on who builds them, how they’re developed, and what data are they trained on. This bias can result in unfair treatment or discriminatory decisions, especially in areas such as hiring, loan approvals, or criminal justice. This leads to a lack of fairness and transparency in these processes, undermining trust in AI systems, and consequently reducing the potential of AI.

Data privacy: Data privacy is another key ethical challenge in the realm of AI. Personal data has become the most prized possession in the digital era. Keeping the data safe shields from various harms in society such as identity theft, fraud, and unauthorized use.

AI systems are trained on massive amounts of data, including personal information. If this data falls into the wrong hands, it can lead to serious security concerns. Data is often collected without individuals’ consent or knowledge, raising concerns about privacy invasion and restricting individual autonomy.

How to ensure the Ethical use of AI?

AI has undeniably provided many opportunities and facilities to human life. But with these changes comes a great deal of responsibility. Here are some practices that can be adopted for the ethical use of AI:

Guarantee transparency: AI systems should be transparent in their decision-making processes, ensuring that users can understand and interpret how decisions are being made to build trust among the users.

Avoid Bias: To ensure that there is no unintended bias, the data should be properly examined and studied to check that it is not only diverse but also inclusive. The development teams behind AI systems should be diverse, including individuals from different backgrounds, ethnicities, genders, and perspectives.

Properly defined AI Ethics framework: Each organization should have a clear and defined AI Ethics policy that will be shared with the relevant stakeholders. Such an agreement will help mitigate risks and establish a system that works following the ethical code of AI.

Several companies have faced severe damage due to issues raised against the development and use of unethical AI. IBM was getting sued for allegedly wrongfully using data gathered through its widely used weather application. According to reports, Amazon engineers dedicated several years to developing AI hiring software. However, the project was eventually discontinued due to the challenge of designing a model that avoids gender bias and discrimination against women.

Salesforce, among other companies, has recognized the importance of ethical considerations in artificial intelligence and has taken steps by appointing a Chief Technology Ethics officer and an AI ethicist to collaborate with the AI production team.

IBM provides its customers with IBM Watson. governance, a platform that enhances an organization’s capacity to manage ethical concerns, mitigate risks, and meet regulatory requirements.

Ethical use of AI is necessary to ensure a positive impact. It is important to involve multiple stakeholders, including developers, policymakers, and society at large, in discussions about the ethical implications of AI. Only then we can ensure a society that is just, fair, and thriving.

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