Developing a Responsible AI Strategy

Artificial Intelligence (AI) encompasses various machine-based systems that can simulate human intelligence. AI technology is now sophisticated enough to make predictions, recommendations, and decisions that affect both actual and virtual environments. Perhaps the largest leap we’ve witnessed is that of Generative AI (GenAI), which can produce images, videos, audio, text, and other digital material that mimic human creation.

Despite the risks that the unfettered use of AI poses, these technologies have been rapidly adopted across industry sectors. What’s more, its adoption has completely outpaced oversight. At the international, national, and company levels, we’re now seeing a scramble to implement governance frameworks that define AI best practices, of which ethical and responsible use is fundamental.

What Is AI Governance?

Unrestricted Company AI Use Is a Concern

Undoubtedly, AI has many beneficial uses, from solving complex problems to automating workflows and enhancing efficiency. But it can also be used for fraud and deception. In fact, the number of ethical misuse incidents has increased 26 times since 2012, according to the Stanford’s Artificial Intelligence Index Report 2023 (A notable incident in 2022 included a deepfake video of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy). Even when misuse is unintended, the unrestricted application of AI in a company setting creates concerns around bias and discrimination, data privacy and security, copyright protection, and transparency and trust.

AI Regulatory Frameworks Are Coming

It’s clear that AI tools, technology, and systems aren’t going anywhere, but it’s equally obvious that a comprehensive framework is required to address the ethical, legal, and societal risks that its continued advancement poses. While no regulatory governance framework has been implemented at the global or even national levels, a common understanding of AI governance has slowly begun to emerge.

AI governance involves establishing frameworks, policies, regulations, and guardrails to oversee the development, deployment, and ethical utilization of AI technologies. It sets standards, rules, and directives guiding AI research and application to ensure safety, fairness, and the upholding of human rights.

Growing Government AI Regulations

Voluntary Controls Introduced

At the international level, a number of multilateral organizations have published guidelines relating to the responsible and ethical use of AI. The OECD published the “Principles on Artificial Intelligence” in 2019, while UNESCO released “Recommendations on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence” in 2021. At the national level, the White House has its “Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights,” while the National Institute of Standards and Technology has the “AI Risk Management Framework.

All these guidelines concern high-level responsible AI principles such as accountability, fairness, transparency, oversight, and privacy. And rather than offering any actual controls, they’re completely voluntary.

EU AI Act Establishes First Legal Requirements

The first concrete piece of AI legislation to be introduced is the EU AI Act, which includes strict rules classifying some practices as “unacceptable,” others as “high-risk”, and still others as outright “prohibited.” The EU AI Act establishes requirements that both providers and users of AI must legally follow, and while legal repercussions may only be applicable in the EU officially, we know that the digital world is not governed by national borders. This legislation will have a far-reaching global impact, regardless of where the US is in terms of creating our own comprehensive legislative framework.

Whose Responsibility is AI Strategy?

The majority of the frameworks developed thus far implicate that companies and their employees are ultimately responsible for how they use AI technologies in the workplace. Without any regulations or controls to follow, and lacking any consequences for misuse, the task of creating an AI governance framework can easily take a backseat to the actual implementation of the technology. But, put simply, the risks associated with the misuse of AI are far too great to ignore the need for oversight – and legislative consequences may not be as far away as you think, either.

Creating an Acceptable Use Policy

As we’re sure you’re already aware, AI holds a great deal of potential for MSPs. It can help streamline repetitive tasks, detect cybersecurity threats, enable proactive maintenance, enhance decision-making capabilities, and power your chatbots and virtual assistants, among other things. Short of creating an oversight body to manage all aspects of AI in your organization, an acceptable use policy can serve as step one in your AI compliance strategy.

An acceptable use policy should consist of the following:

  • An outline of the acceptable uses of AI tools for your organization.
  • An outline of the consequences for misuse.
  • Employee training on the proper use of AI tools.
  • Regular review to reflect changing standards.

The alignment, adoption, and assessment capabilities of Compliance Scorecard can help you implement, enforce, and adjust your policy as needed. The comprehensive WYSIWYG online editor with full version control makes it easy to ensure that your acceptable use policy perfectly aligns with industry best practices as well as the AI governance frameworks that exist thus far. Training functions empower you to foster a culture of compliance at all levels of your organizations, and assessment tools allow you to regularly evaluate and monitor the policy, which will have to be flexible and able to accommodate the future evolutions of this changing technology.

Need Some Guidance on AI Strategy?

The rapid adoption of AI has not matched the deployment of governance frameworks for ensuring its responsible and ethical use. As it stands right now, responsibility for AI strategy lies with companies and, in this context, crafting an Acceptable Use Policy is essential.

Mitigate the risks associate with AI use in your organization, begin by downloading our AI policy template today.

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