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More than three-quarters of business executives say they are uncertain about the ethics and the transparency of their AI systems. Additionally, a global survey [download page] of more than 1,500 executives and 4,400 consumers conducted by Capgemini Research Institute finds that the majority (86%) of executives are aware of instances where AI has resulted in ethical issues.

In more general terms, a survey of marketers by Phrasee found that many of the practices that they considered to be unethical revolve around the use of data for targeting specific groups as well as either targeting or excluding a selective population in their marketing. According to the executives surveyed by Capgemini, one of the top ethical issues that resulted from the use of AI was limiting access or discriminatory pricing of services and products due to consumers’ race, gender or other factors that were originally part of the company’s target group.

Executives place the onus for the ethical issues that arise from using AI on a myriad of factors, including feeling the pressure to implement AI quickly without fully addressing ethical issues (34%), not considering ethical issues when constructing AI systems (33%) and lack of resources dedicated to ethical AI systems (31%). Three in 10 (29%) executives also report that they lack a diverse team in regards to factors such as race and gender developing AI systems.

Despite these negative factors – and other research that shows that more than half (52%) of US consumers are frustrated with companies that only provide non-human communication – consumers tend to have positive reactions when AI interactions are perceived to be ethical. In such cases, close to two-thirds (62%) of the consumers surveyed place a higher level of trust in that company. Another 6 in 10 (61%) respondents also say they would share positive experiences with friends and family.

Marketers should take note of other benefits of ethical practice when using AI. Consumers said that ethical interactions with AI influence higher loyalty towards the company (59%) and increased purchases of products from that company (55%). It also inspires consumers to provide higher ratings and positive feedback on social media (55%) for the company in question.

About the Data: The report is based on a survey of 1,580 executives in 510 organizations and over 4,400 consumers across countries such as the US, UK, China, Germany, and France.

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