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EY Poll Reveals Uncertainty Drives AI Trust Level Crisis
February 28, 2020 News

 

Artificial intelligence (AI) has come to occupy centre stage in the world of disruptive tech and will undoubtedly transform lives and businesses, but how and in what ways is still uncertain. As a result, many Asia-Pacific organisations are holding back their adoption of AI because of mistrust, potential bias, and a lack of transparency and explainability. During an EY webinar, these key factors were identified by over 70% of participants in a recent poll, which marks the biggest barriers to raising trust levels in AI.

Andy Gillard, EY Asia-Pacific Intelligent Automation Leader stressed that, “Trust is the foundation on which organizations can build stakeholder and consumer confidence and active participation with AI systems. Across Asia-Pacific, governments and organizations acknowledge how AI technology can deliver increasing value and are experiencing life with AI, in particular facial recognition technology. With the risks and impacts of AI spanning across technical, ethical and social domains, introducing new mechanisms to address the unique risks of AI is needed, such as the development of frameworks and guidelines.”

“Dealing with AI solutions that span across different jurisdictions all with different privacy regulations and cultural norms of what is socially acceptable is not an easy task. To maximize the real value of AI, business leaders must first build trust with internal and external stakeholders to clear up doubts about the data being collected and used in their AI systems,” commented Christina Larkin, EY Oceania Assurance Digital Trust Leader.

Estimates indicate US$2.9 trillion[1] of business value will be created through AI globally in 2021, and Asia-Pacific countries stand out in AI patent filing, with China holding 46.4%, Japan holding 9.5% and the Republic of Korea holding 6.3% of patents filed worldwide in 2018[2]. Most organisations realise the growing value and potential of AI, which could help revive and grow multiple sectors, deliver more freedom to create, replace humans for humdrum tasks and improve customer experience and create new services. When asked about their AI journeys, almost one-fifth of those polled (18.8%) expressed that they are exploring AI solutions that may be relevant to their industry. The EY poll also shows that almost half of the polling participants (41%) are interested in exploring AI, but are not sure where to start, despite the clear trend and gradual increased usage.

“Asia-Pacific organizations need to view an AI implementation through a human lens rather than treat it as a strictly technological effort. To do this, leaders have to embed risk management into enablers and monitoring mechanisms for AI by demonstrating their commitment to being accountable for AI systems predictions, decisions and behaviors,” suggested Gavin Seewooruttun, EY Asia-Pacific Advisory Leader for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Analytics. “This must occur regardless of the level of autonomy for an AI system, so that ultimate responsibility and accountability for an algorithm resides with a clearly identified person or organization.”

The poll results also show that many believe process automation (52.3%) and generating new revenue potential through new products and processes (18.8%), will be the two main benefits of AI. With the correct context, AI can be used to not only add value to businesses, but also solve many issues in multiple sectors. The mining sector, for example, utilizes AI to provide precise algorithms to ensure minimal mistakes and foresee possible problems by predicting when workers will have issues with the trains that move materials from mines to the ships. Streamlining the workforce is also one of the major uses of AI.

Jeffrey Tiong, Founder and CEO of PatSnap, commented on the main way in which an AI solution differs from other conventional solutions, which is that “AI is an enabler. It is not a solution by itself per se. It is really contextually driven.” People should be mindful in implementing AI to their businesses and unleash the full potential of AI depending on various company needs, purposes and circumstances.

Against this background, Professor Rajesh Vasa, Head of Translational Research and Development at the Applied Artificial Intelligence Institute at Deakin University recognizes the importance of nurturing AI talent which can also help build trusted AI solutions. “Most Asia-Pacific universities have AI courses now and as a consequence, we anticipate the talent with the background and education to make it into the workforce and support organizations in leveraging this new technology. We are seeing strong interest from governments around Asia-Pacific to develop strategies for attracting and developing talent in this space. People are surprised by how diverse the specializations of that talent needs to be. Without such support, it may become difficult or even impossible to transform AI’s potential into reality,” he explained.

Andy Gillard concluded, “Implementing AI in a strategic way is very important. It is crucial for companies to rethink their approach by addressing the attributes necessary to sustain trust in their AI solutions, outlined in the EY Trusted AI Framework: performance, bias, transparency, resiliency, and explainability[3]. This will not only maximize AI potential, but also reassure customers to trust these technologies. In our near future, if companies employ AI wisely, consciously, and with an ethical and responsible mind, AI can make an exciting and material contribution to a better working world.”

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