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People ready to consider AI, but businesses must tackle ethics

Study from Sage finds technology early adopters and consumers are ready to try artificial intelligence, but there are concerns over ethics

Although artificial intelligence (AI) adoption is still in its early stages, many people are at least willing to consider using AI to manage both personal and professional activities on their behalf, a new study from Sage has found.

Respondents to the survey from the tech communities in the US and the UK are more willing to use AI for professional and personal tasks than consumers are.

Kriti Sharma, vice-president of AI at Sage, said: “The study reveals that both consumers and technologists are optimistic about the future of AI and the potential for it to eliminate menial tasks. However, people still don’t fully understand what AI is and how it can help them. For me, this is the real danger.

“AI has the potential to improve our quality of life, revolutionise productivity and impact the country’s GDP, but this potential can only be realised if we embrace the opportunity responsibly, and with both hands.”

Sage’s Optimism and ethics study found that despite wide-ranging AI exposure and usage, every demographic that was surveyed views ethics in AI creation as “very important”. In the US, 59% of tech respondents and 57% of consumer respondents said the injection of ethics into AI development is a top concern. In the UK, the numbers were slightly lower, but still significant – 55% of UK tech respondents and 53% of UK consumers said they are focused on the importance of ethics and AI.

Sage believes AI will replace jobs, but at the same time will create new job opportunities.

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The real issues that need to be discussed and solved with AI today – many of which businesses currently face at scale – are the ethical issues of diversity and inclusion, from analogue-first to digital-first and on to AI first, the Sage study concluded.

“Businesses that do not embrace and adopt AI technology will get left behind,” said Sharma. “The tech community must educate current and future business builders about the opportunities AI presents. And no education will be complete without also addressing the responsibilities associated with ethical development and diversity in AI.”

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