Dentons survey reveals business leaders’ unease over AI systems

Dentons survey reveals business leaders' unease over AI systems

Giangiacomo Olivi

Global business leaders have concerns about decisions and omissions made by artificial intelligence (AI) systems despite their wide adoption in the private sector, a survey by Dentons has found.

The vast majority (81 per cent) of businesses cited personal data protection as a significant concern, yet only 55 per cent of businesses said they actually have data protection policies, for both personal and non-personal data, in place.

Only 19 per cent of businesses have a strategy or roadmap for AI, suggesting it is being implemented without proper consideration of the risks, the relevant legislation or the internal controls required to ensure it is well-governed.

Eight out of 10 business leaders reported uncertainty over where liability sits for the decisions as well as omissions made by AI systems, and a majority (57 per cent) harbour concerns about the potential for discrimination arising from the actions of AI systems.

Depending on the area of law, between 55 per cent and 75 per cent are unaware of relevant AI legislation in their country, and nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) do not know which public body regulates the area.

Businesses are urgently looking to regulators to provide protection mechanisms on the use of AI in relation to privacy (61 per cent), consumer protection (52 per cent), criminal liability (46 per cent) and intellectual property (45 per cent).

Giangiacomo Olivi, co-head of Dentons’ data privacy and cybersecurity and intellectual property and technology groups in Europe, said: “AI has become part of everyday life and businesses are riding a wave of optimism as they pursue growth strategies that incorporate the implementation of these fast-developing technologies.

“However, global business leaders are beginning to ask serious questions about where the responsibility for good governance, regulation and compliance sits. We urgently need to start a dialogue on the controls needed to protect businesses, customers, shareholders and communities.

“With the release of the Dentons AI survey we are calling call for a system of ‘algorethics’ so that the right checks and balances can be put in place. Moral considerations need to become an integral part of the development of AI technologies, balancing business objectives with a focus on people.’

The Dentons AI survey was conducted online amongst 209 global business leaders in September 2021. It was complemented by an additional 698 responses to LinkedIn polls.

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