Ethical Considerations For Generative AI

VP-IT at rSTAR, spearheading business and IT transformation for customers with a focus on manufacturing, energy/utilities and construction.


Generative AI (GenAI) has significantly transformed many industries. While the current applications and outcomes are intriguing, generative AI promises many more potential benefits, especially in customer operations, marketing and sales and R&D.

Although many organizations seek to adopt GenAI, ethical concerns and challenges must be addressed for responsible and effective adoption.

Privacy In The Era Of GenAI

Innovations like GenAI are crucial for business success. However, companies must consider safety, ethics and trust before adoption to reduce the negative impact the solution may have.

Many customers react negatively to the perceived invasions of their privacy inherent in many of the latest technological tools. From facial recognition software to GenAI using previous conversations to understand the current context and prepare responses, consumers wonder where the line will be drawn between their privacy and a company’s business needs.

Generative AI brings with it a separate list of privacy questions. Customers wonder:

• How is information entered into GenAI used?

• Where will it be stored?

• Who owns my data?

• Can it be shared, sold or stored indefinitely?

• If it is shared or sold, who receives it? Can I opt out?

All of these questions must be addressed. Responsible organizations must think through their responses to customer questions regarding data accessibility, privacy and security.

Striking a balance between GenAI adoption and safeguarding privacy is essential to foster trust.

Bias: Potential Problems With GenAI
GenAI is evolving. Like any evolving platform, it comes with its share of mistakes. One mistake that may not be apparent at first glance is its odd biases.

For instance, GenAI might not recognize the concept of gender and may struggle to understand who interacts with it each time the user inputs a query. It may suddenly switch gender pronouns, for example, referring to someone who states "he/his" preferences by "she/her" or "their." This reduces the feeling of personalization and may be jarring for users.

Organizations must continually train their GenAI platforms with diverse, relevant data models to improve their effectiveness.

Honesty And Transparency
Organizations must continually train their GenAI platforms with diverse, relevant data models to improve their effectiveness. But when we collect data to train and evaluate our models, we need to respect data provenance and ensure that we have consent to use data (e.g., open-source, user-provided).

Accountability And Regulation
Establishing clear accountability frameworks and regulations is imperative to prevent misuse and ensure responsible AI practices.

Companies should work with legal teams to establish accountability for platform governance. This helps define boundaries between the AI solution provider, company and every stakeholder involved and informs everyone of their roles in managing the solution.

Companies adopting GenAI should prioritize safety. It’s crucial to protect the privacy of any personal identifying information (PII) present in the data used for training and create guardrails to prevent additional harm. While this is critical for all industries, it is essential for legal compliance in finance and healthcare.

Discuss with your team how to safeguard PII when customers engage with GenAI.

Adopting Responsible AI Ensures A Better Future For All
As we stand at the crossroads of technological innovation, ethical considerations must guide the journey into the era of artificial general intelligence.

Addressing privacy concerns, tackling biases, promoting transparency, fostering human-AI collaboration, enforcing accountability and embracing global collaboration can shape a future where GenAI enhances industries ethically and responsibly. Together, let us navigate the path forward, ensuring that the power of AI is harnessed and effectively and responsibly used for the benefit of all.
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{Author}Vivek Ahuja, Forbes Councils Member{/Author}

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