Accenture: Singapore businesses value 'ethical and responsible' use of AI

Accenture: Singapore businesses value 'ethical and responsible' use of AI

Businesses bullish on AI’s ability to augment, rather than replace jobs

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Singapore organisations are firmly behind the ethical and responsible use of artificial intelligence (AI), an Accenture study has found.

The AI Momentum, Maturity and Models for Success, study which was commissioned by Accenture Applied Intelligence, SAS and Intel, and conducted by Forbes Insights.

Globally, the study found that 36 per cent of executives have deployed AI-based technologies within their organisations, with 71 per cent training these technologies in ethics.

In Singapore, 67 per cent of those organisations surveyed said they have an ethics committee to review the use of AI, which is comparable to global peers.

While 43 per cent review their AI output at least weekly and 30 per cent have a process in place for augmenting or overriding questionable results.

In Singapore, 65 per cent of executives trust AI to make appropriate predictions and its suggested actions.

Furthermore, 36 per cent of respondents in Singapore recognise that analytics plays a major or central role in their organisation’s AI efforts with over half of Singapore executives strongly agreeing that AI will significantly reduce repetitive tasks over the next few years.

Sixty-five per cent further believe AI will enable them to mine massive volumes of data faster to inform business decisions.

AI enhancements

Singapore executives are also very bullish on AI’s ability to augment, rather than replace jobs, with 78 per cent strongly agreeing they do not anticipate any impact on jobs due to AI’s implementation.

In fact, 61 per cent of business leaders in Singapore say job roles are being elevated as a result of AI.

In 2018, the consulting firm released an “AI fairness tool” designed to help organisations detect and eliminate certain bias that may influence AI results such as gender, race, etc.

Tools such as these are set to become critical as AI technology advances and decisions made by such technology continues to influence way of life. This is becoming increasingly transparent as algorithms behind popular social networks such as Facebook are influencing voting decisions in important electronics, for instance.

As such, biased algorithms have become a real concern, particular when those bias are hard coded into AI, perpetuating some of the worst impulses of modern society; becoming part of the problem and not contributing to a solution.

In September 2018, Singapore revealed the composition of an advisory council on the ethical use of artificial intelligence (AI) and data, which was previously announced in June.

Specifically, the advisory council is set to include 11 members, including Google, Alibaba, and Microsoft, together with leaders from local companies as well as advocates of social and consumer interest, and will be chaired by former Attorney-General V.K. Rajah SC.

The ethics council was one of three initiatives announced in June to help promote a vibrant and trusted AI ecosystem in Singapore, which appears to be on the right track according to these latest results from Accenture.

The Accenture survey was conducted with 330 global business leaders in the Americas, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, including 25 from Singapore.

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