August 2023 Blog Header

AI and Your Business: The Risks and Mitigation

What Are the Risks Posed by AI?

Artificial intelligence is currently focusing on large language processing, which processes large amounts of language data from text, audio, and video. The sectors most likely to be affected are those that deal with written or spoken language.

AI sophistication and capabilities have increased over the last 25 years since a supercomputer beat a grandmaster chess player. However, recent developments in AI have sparked alarm among technologists and prompted regulators around the world to take action. If AI continues on its current trajectory, they fear it will wipe out millions of jobs and reshape society.

These are just some of the risks of using AI in business:

It is important for businesses to be aware of these risks and to take steps to mitigate them.

Job Losses: AI has the potential to automate many jobs, which could lead to job losses. This is a particular concern for low-skilled workers, who may not be able to easily find new jobs in the AI economy.

Privacy Breaches: AI systems can collect and analyse large amounts of data about people, which could be used to invade their privacy. This is a particular concern for sensitive data, such as medical records or financial information.

Deepfakes: AI can be used to create deepfakes, which are videos or audio recordings that have been manipulated to make it look or sound like someone is saying or doing something they never said or did. Deepfakes could be used to spread misinformation or damage someone’s reputation.

Algorithmic Bias: AI systems are trained on data, and if the data is biased, the AI system will be biased as well. This could lead to AI systems making unfair or discriminatory decisions.

Socioeconomic Inequality: AI could exacerbate socioeconomic inequality by making it easier for businesses to automate tasks and replace workers with machines. This could lead to a widening gap between the rich and the poor.

Market Volatility: AI could lead to market volatility by making it easier for investors to trade large amounts of assets very quickly. This could cause sudden and dramatic changes in the value of assets, which could harm businesses and consumers.

The surge in interest in — and fears over the technology can be traced back to OpenAI’s ChatGPT launch in November last year. Within two months, 100,000,000 people were using the chatbot — the fastest uptake of a new consumer application ever. Users were delighted by ChatGPT’s remarkable capabilities, although they were also apprehensive.

In addition to exhibiting distinctly human qualities, the chatbot displayed a high level of intelligence, creative abilities, reasoning and even a sense of humour. Thus, its launch marked a significant step towards artificial general intelligence: a computer system capable of performing any human task and generating scientific knowledge.

It is argued that a superintelligent computer would significantly expand human knowledge and help society solve its most serious problems. Although whilst investing huge resources there are warnings that there is a marginal risk AI could destroy human life altogether.

How Bad Could it Get?

A common concern is that artificial general intelligence could rapidly replace human intelligence by developing in ever-quicker cycles into “superintelligence”.  It is a well-known science fiction scenario, but those at the forefront of developing artificial intelligence warn that it is now a credible risk. In May the Centre for AI Safety published a short note signed by a long list of global experts, saying: “Mitigating the risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war.”

Can the AI Industry Mitigate the Risks?

In recent years, the AI industry has been putting a lot of effort into aligning AI models with goals and making sure they don’t stray from those. These efforts aim to prevent chatbots from spreading hate, misinformation, or harm.

How Can We Address the Immediate Concerns?

Here are some ways to mitigate the risks of using AI in business and ensure its effectiveness:

Be Transparent About How AI Is Being Used – Businesses should be transparent about how they are using AI, and they should give employees and customers the ability to opt out of AI-powered services.

Protect User Privacy – Businesses should take steps to protect user privacy and they should not collect or use data about users without their consent.

Address Algorithmic Bias – Businesses should address algorithmic bias in their AI systems, and they should make sure that their systems are not making unfair or discriminatory decisions.

Invest in AI Ethics – It is important for businesses to invest in AI ethics research and development, as well as to develop ethical guidelines for AI use.

In the short term, technology threatens to make employees redundant; in the long run, it poses a threat to the very existence of mankind.

‘We must slow down the race to God-like AI’ – FT Magazine