Published 03. Aug. 2018
Bertie Müller: The Global Challenges Facing The Efforts To Diversify The Artificial Intelligence Industry
An interview with speaker Bertie Müller of The Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and Simulation Behaviour (AISB) in the United Kingdom on the challenges facing the global organisations towards implementing ethical AI and robotics technology.
Artificial Intelligence (A.I) is often hailed as the focus of our technological future. Today, AI is an indispensable part of our everyday life. We find it on our phone, cybersecurity system, car – even so far as on our Facebook pages. However, given that the current AI technology scene is, for the most part, dominated by males and the western countries, is it truly ready to meet the needs of the multiracial, multigender, and multicultural global market?
We have interviewed Bertie Müller, Chair of The Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and Simulation Behaviour (AISB) in the United Kingdom, on his thoughts on the matter. He agreed that the lack of diversity is one of the major challenges faced by companies and organisations in their journey to implement ethical digital transformation on a global level. The first step that the AI organisations need to take to diversify the industry is by closing the gender gap in the industry. Governments and organisations can work together to attract more women to be interested in the technology field and ultimately, pursue a career in AI and robotics. Müller also highlights the importance of further diversifying the industry by attracting people from various ethnicity, culture, socio-economic background, and more.
Müller emphasises that there is an urgent need for companies to align their AI technology with the different cultures and societies of today to successfully implement it on a global level. Companies and organisations alike need to bear in mind that a concept which works in a local market might not achieve the same result when implemented internationally, given that the said concept need to comply and meet the needs of multiple target groups from various backgrounds.
As AI is becoming more intrinsic for both consumers and businesses around the globe, companies must take the necessary steps to ensure that their developers and designers are more inclusive and diverse to allow a greater range of dataset; people from various backgrounds have different ideas, perceive computer algorithm and patterns differently, sees designs in ways unique to their own culture and experiences. Having a team that reflects the diversity within the human societies and system dimensions, we have a greater chance to produce and cultivate AI technology that can meet the need of everyone in the world with little to no bias to any single user.
Apart than the need to work on diversifying the AI industry, organisations also need to focus on the problem of how to marry technology design with ongoing ethical consideration. For Müller, ethical digital transformation needs to start from within the organisation. Leaders need to ensure that their existing employees do not feel threatened when implementing AI tools and automation in work processes. Müller advises companies and organisations to be honest and transparent, as transparency is the key to gaining employees’ trust and acceptance. He stresses that the involvement of existing (and diverse) teams in the planning process, as well as designing the AI as a tool to support employees rather than to replace them are paramount to achieving satisfaction among the workforce.
There are also other concerns about AI technology development around the world, namely cybersecurity, data privacy, as well as its impact on our social structures. But global issues require global solutions; governments and organisations need to work together towards establishing regulations that are fair to all AI developers and users internationally. However, as these regulations are expected to be complex in its nature, it’s only natural that it will require some time to finalise and be implemented on a global scale.
Müller is of the same opinion, stating that the introduction of regulations is necessarily a long process. “What is needed urgently are frameworks that are informed by academics and adopted by industries and governments, ensuring, on the one hand, responsible design and use of AI for humanity are observed, and on the other hand, governing access to data.” For the moment, Müller advises organisations to look into ways to more effectively and continuously work on the required skills of their employees. He added that the skills that will be required for the future are far less factual and more multi-disciplinary and procedural. “Problem-solving and transferable skills need to be continuously developed further. Ethics need to become a core part of a multi-disciplinary design and development process,” he concluded. Learn more about Bertie Müller and his thoughts on ethics, privacy, and diversity in AI at our European Business AI and Robotics conference, along with other AI and robotics experts at the Messukeskus Helsinki, Expo and Convention Centre in Finland, on the 23rd and 24th October 2018.