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Article • 26/01/2024

​​Exec Connect NYC: Championing the potential of AI while tackling its ethical and practical challenges

 

 

Our recent AI roundtable featured thought-provoking discussions around the ethics and future of work, and both the potential and limitations of generative AI tools.

What’s your company’s AI strategy? It’s a question every organization is increasingly expected to have a nuanced answer for. At our recent Exec Connect event in New York, we invited thought leaders from some of the world’s biggest companies to delve into AI’s potential, inherent challenges, ethical conundrums, and its impact on the future of work. The event featured guest speaker Geoffrey Sidari, managing director of data and analytics at Prosek Partners.

A notable takeaway from the meeting was the increased mention of generative AI during this quarter’s earnings calls. There was a whopping 308% increase from the previous quarter, signaling the rising significance and adoption of this technology in the business world.

Other key topics of conversation included:

  •   Pairing generative AI with discriminative AI to provide greater intelligence and understanding of context.
  •   The importance of providing AI with granular instructions.
  •   Ethical and confidentiality concerns around AI, necessitating responsible use policies.

Pairing generative and discriminative AI for enhanced intelligence

Generative AI, despite its hype, can often lack context and understanding of trends. However, this limitation becomes less significant when generative AI is combined with discriminative AI. This duo can potentially offer more comprehensive knowledge and a higher degree of intelligence.

Pairing these AI types also extends their applicability. For instance, chatbots, which are one of the early mainstream applications of generative AI, gain new dimensions of utility when coupled with discriminative AI. This approach paves the way for more nuanced, context-aware responses, strengthening the interaction and overall experience for the end-user. It was stressed, however, that while we integrate AI tools into our teams, we should see them as additional members aiding in research rather than blindly trusting their outputs.

Directing AI for optimal results

AI’s potential to take over mundane, repetitive tasks like daily news scans, freeing up 2-3 hours of human work each day, was a key highlight of our discussion. However, this potential is best realized when we provide clear and specific directions to AI.

A well-directed AI system can provide enhanced intelligence, thus resulting in more informed decisions and actions. One participant pointed out that not leveraging AI would lead to inefficient budget utilization, emphasizing the strategic advantages of properly directed AI. It became clear through our discussions that learning how to harness the full potential of AI will be a crucial skill in the digital age. Equally, it’s important for communicators to identify ways in which AI doesn’t just make their job easier, but their output better. As the technology reaches maturity, those who do more and better will more likely stand out. 

Balancing AI usage with ethics and confidentiality

The rise of AI has inevitably prompted numerous ethical and confidentiality questions. How should AI be used in contexts where confidentiality is crucial? The roundtable agreed that data not in the public domain should not be prematurely shared with AI tools. This carries the risk of information leakage. 

Companies also need to be transparent about their AI usage. Transparency not only maintains trust but also prevents potential backlash. As a result, many organizations are developing responsible use policies for AI. These policies set the groundwork for balancing the benefits of AI with ethical considerations, ensuring that the power of AI is harnessed in a manner that respects user privacy and upholds the highest ethical standards.

Like past Exec Connect events, our AI roundtable served as a reminder of the vast potential and the associated complexities of AI. As we continue to navigate the ever-evolving AI landscape, discussions like these will be instrumental in guiding how we interact with, integrate, and regulate AI in our businesses and daily lives.

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