Business case for ethical AI starts with talent, says industry leader

Business case for ethical AI starts with talent, says industry leader

· The Pulse

Episode 39 of Bloom takes a look at ethical AI: why it makes business sense, what it's going to take to make it happen, and what stands in the way of proceeding responsibly in this emerging industry.

For Nicole Janssen, co-founder and co-CEO of AltaML, building AI with ethics in mind is crucial for establishing the necessary trust to get customers to use artificial intelligence. And it's key to attracting the people you need to carry out the work.

"There is a business reason to ensure that you are using AI ethically, because you'll have a hard time finding the right talent," said Janssen, whose Edmonton-based company has seen tremendous growth since it started in 2018. "You might find some talent — it might not be the talent that you want, though."

That rang true for guest host Katrina Ingram of Ethically Aligned AI, a social enterprise that aims to help companies build better AI. Today's students and recent graduates are "a group of people who really want to live their values," she said.

Sometimes ethics requires saying "stop" when everyone else wants to keep going. As massive layoffs hit parts of the tech industry, Ingram worries that those values-driven workers won't have the leverage they once had.

"I do have to wonder: Will that temper people's propensity to stand up and do the right thing? When it comes down to paying the bills, putting food on the table, keeping your job, will employees still feel that they can stand up?"

Learn much more about Janssen's efforts to build a talent pool for AI that is not only ethical but also business-savvy, as well as her thoughts on Canada's opportunity to become a world leader in responsible AI, on the Nov. 24 episode of Taproot's podcast about innovation in Edmonton.