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Many Large Organisations Are Overestimating Their Responsible AI Maturity – BCG GAMMA
March 31, 2021 News


A new global survey conducted by BCG GAMMA finds that 55% of all respondents overestimated the maturity of their responsible artificial intelligence (RAI) program—the structures, processes, and tools that help organisations ensure that their AI systems work in the service of good while transforming their businesses. In addition, less than half of the organisations that reported achieving AI at scale have a fully mature RAI implementation. The survey is discussed in an article titled “Are You Overestimating Your Responsible AI Maturity?” and has been released.

The survey, the first to assess the maturity of RAI implementations, collected data from senior executives at more than 1,000 large organisations. It found that organisations fell into four distinct stages of RAI maturity: lagging (14%), developing (34%), advanced (31%), and leading (21%). An organization’s stage reflects its progress in addressing seven generally accepted dimensions of RAI, including fairness and equity, data and privacy governance, and human plus AI.

Steven Mills, BCG GAMMA’s chief ethics officer and a co-author, noted, “The results were surprising in that so many organisations are overly optimistic about the maturity of their responsible AI implementation. While many organisations are making progress, it’s clear the depth and breadth of most efforts fall behind what is needed to truly ensure responsible AI.”

Although C-suite executives and boards of directors are concerned with the organisational risks posed by a lapse of an AI system, the survey finds that businesses are not pursuing RAI simply to mitigate potential risks. Instead, leading organisations know that RAI is an opportunity to realise significant business benefits.

Sylvain Duranton, BCG GAMMA’s global leader and a co-author, added, “Increasingly, the smartest organisations I’m talking to are moving beyond risk to focus on the significant business benefits of RAI, including brand differentiation, improved employee recruiting and retention, and a culture of responsible innovation—one that’s supported by the corporate purpose and values.”

Key findings from the survey include:

  • Organisations’ RAI programs typically neglect three RAI dimensions—fairness and equity, social and environmental impact mitigation, and human plus AI—because they are difficult to address.
  • Most organisations that are in the leading stage of RAI maturity have both an individual and a committee guiding their RAI strategy.
  • An organisation’s region is a better predictor than its industry of its RAI maturity.
  • Some regions are clearly more mature, on average, than others; Europe and North America have the highest RAI maturity.
  • Organisations in different industries engage in RAI for different reasons; the public sector, for example, is less focused on business benefits, compared with the industrial goods and automotive industries.