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AI needs safeguards, even if it means curbing progress

Business executives are generally for AI and believe it will bring a lot of good to the world, but there need to be certain safeguards, even at the expense of faster progress. These are the conclusions of a new report, recently released by global consultancy A.T. Kearney at the Digital Business Forum in London. Based on a poll of 400 business executives, artificial intelligence is a promise (70 per cent), and not danger (11 per cent). 

Currently, however, 30 per cent feel comfortable being transported in a driverless car, a figure which is expected to hit 70 per cent by 2020.  So far, more than $70 billion has been invested in artificial intelligence worldwide, but interestingly enough – it won’t be start-ups to hit human-level artificial intelligence first. Instead, it will be the military / government, as AI is seen as the future of warfare. After military and start-ups, large corporations are only ranked third, followed by academia. 

Pharma and healthcare will be most impacted, the report says, although high impact is expected in telecommunications and media. 

“Despite the significant impact AI can have on businesses, our findings show a consensus amongst the business community to ensure accountability alongside innovation; prompting the ethical debate on data-driven “logical” choices that seem ethically challenging,” said Jonathan Anscombe, Partner with A.T. Kearney Health and Digital Transformation Practices.  

“Whether or not such ethical questions are of practical consequences, it is important to address the concerns in a calculated manner in order to prevent a delay in such applications that would truly benefit mankind.”

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