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Why you should hire a chief AI ethics officer?

The role of CAIEO is on the rise at leading enterprises as digital transformation becomes more complex.

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The Role

AI ethics officers find technical and non-technical solutions to address concerns raised by AI applications, mitigate risks and help companies reap rewards



Cover Image: Mike MacKenzie/VPNRUS

AUTHORS
Mark Minevich
Chief Digital Strategist, International Research Centre on Artificial Intelligence under the auspices of UNESCO, Sr. Advisor, Boston Consulting Group

Francesca Rossi
AI Ethics Global Leader, IBM

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Forward-looking

Forward-looking companies are turning to the CAIEO role to put into operation corporate values related to AI across the organization's divisions.



CAIEOs need to ensure that the AI technology being developed, used and deployed is trustworthy; and that developers have the right tools, education, and training to easily embed these properties in what they produce;

CAIEOs should have multi-disciplinary knowledge of AI techniques, tools and platforms, AI risks and its impact on society, business strategy, industries and public policies, as well as good communication skills;

Is AI just a buzzword?

AI affects the lives of billions of people, rapidly transforming our society and challenging what it means to be human.



AI is powerful enough to enable solutions in every sector, from personal digital assistants to fraud and failure prediction, self and assisted driving, and health diagnostics. AI can help personalize education and tutoring, create new jobs and assist in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath.

Alongside its positive effects, some AI applications raise legitimate concerns and risks. AI ethics is the multi-disciplinary and multi stakeholder field of study that aims to define and implement technical and non-technical solutions to address these concerns and mitigate the risks.

Alongside its positive effects, some AI applications raise legitimate concerns and risks. AI ethics is the multi-disciplinary and multistakeholder field of study that aims to define and implement technical and non-technical solutions to address these concerns and mitigate the risks.

The main goal of a Chief AI Ethics Officer

To make AI ethics principles part of operations within a company, organization or institution.



A CAIEO advises and builds accountability frameworks for CEOs and boards on the unintended risks posed by AI to the organization.

They should help companies comply with existing or expected AI regulations and oversee the implementation of many of the organization’s AI ethics governance and education functions.

At a very high level, companies need an AI ethics framework to ensure that AI-enabled solutions are developed in ways that mitigate the chances of harm to relevant stakeholders. More specifically, a CAIEO should lead the definition of broad AI ethics goals and then help the company understand how to meet these.

How to achive this?

All this cannot be done by one person (or team) but instead requires a company-wide approach



Multi-disciplinary knowledge
AI ethics issues cannot only be addressed through technical solutions and compliance with relevant policies, standards and laws.

Effective and inclusive governance
creating an AI ethics board, led by the CAIEO with representatives from all the company’s divisions and with decision-making power, visibility and governance authority fully supported by the CEO and senior executives.

Strategic differentiation and business value
He/She should encourage the company to consider AI ethics as a source of value and a strategic differentiator rather than just a set of guardrails with which to comply.

Public communication and advocacy
The CAIEO require communication skills to facilitate dialogue and trust between stakeholders within the company and externally.

Company-wide engagement
All this cannot be done by 1 person (or team), instead requires a company-wide approach, where all business units contribute to achievin

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