Building trust in the age of AI: A balancing act of ethics and innovation
MAPping the Future

Building trust in the age of AI: A balancing act of ethics and innovation

(First of two parts)

I remember scrolling through TikTok one lazy Sunday afternoon when I stumbled upon a video of Dr. Willie Ong, the beloved health guru, enthusiastically endorsing a male enhancement supplement. My first thought was, “Has he lost his mind?” As if that wasn’t shocking enough, the video had lurid clips playing in the background, completely out of character for the good doctor. But as it turns out, he hadn’t lost his mind—Artificial Intelligence (AI) had. The video was a deep fake, his voice cloned to perfection. It was like watching a sci-fi movie unfold on my smartphone, and it left me pondering the vast potential of AI, both its wonders and its perils, especially when it comes to building trust in our digital world.

In the rapidly evolving landscape of technology, AI stands out as a revolutionary force, transforming industries and reshaping societal norms. For business owners, communicators, government officials and marketers, the integration of AI presents a dual-edged sword—one that holds immense potential for fostering trust and transparency but also poses significant ethical challenges, particularly in a society increasingly vulnerable to misinformation and disinformation.

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The promise of AI in building trust

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AI’s ability to analyze vast amounts of data and derive actionable insights is unparalleled. For businesses and marketers, AI can enhance customer engagement by providing personalized experiences and predictive analytics that anticipate consumer needs. Government officials can leverage AI for more efficient public service delivery, while communicators can use AI-driven tools for real-time sentiment analysis and crisis management.

The Department of Trade and Industry has recognized the transformative potential of AI in driving economic growth and improving public services. Initiatives, such as the AI Road Map for the Philippines, aim to harness AI for national development, emphasizing the importance of ethical AI practices to build public trust.

A study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology highlights that AI-driven decision-making systems can significantly improve operational efficiencies and build trust among stakeholders by ensuring that decisions are data-driven and objective. Moreover, AI can enhance transparency through technologies, like blockchain, which ensure that data integrity and foster trust among users.

Ethical considerations

Despite its potential, the use of AI is fraught with ethical considerations. A critical concern is the susceptibility of AI systems to biases embedded in their training data, which can perpetuate and even exacerbate existing inequalities. For instance, a 2020 report from the National Institute of Standards and Technology revealed that facial recognition algorithms exhibited higher error rates for people of color, underscoring the need for rigorous bias mitigation strategies. INQ

(To be continued)

The author is chair of the International Relations Committee of Management Association of the Philippines and chair and CEO of The EON Group. Feedback at [email protected] and [email protected].

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