Thursday, 25 July 2019 02:47

Trust important as foundation for AI-based decision-making: report Featured

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The necessity of trust to achieve long-term business success — especially as a foundation for decision-making based on artificial intelligence — has been highlighted in a new study that found three in five business leaders (63%) in nine countries, including Australia, say they would trust decisions made by AI if substantial reasoning for reaching those decisions is available.

The global study — Fujitsu Future Insights Global Digital Transformation Report 2019 — released on Wednesday by Fujitsu, found that organisations were more likely to succeed in digital transformation when their approach included measures to drive trust, such as long-term perspectives, empathic leadership and measures to empower employees.

And in addition, two thirds (66%) of study respondents were inclined to trust organisations that published a code of ethics governing their use of AI.

The study is based on opinions from 900 CxOs and decision-makers at large and mid-sized companies in Australia, China, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore, Spain, the UK and the US.

Conway Kosi, vice-president of sales, customer service management and marketing, Fujitsu Australia and New Zealand, said, “As emerging technologies such as AI become commonplace in the business environment, the guidelines of trust become increasingly important in any business relationship”.

“This research confirms that building trust in business and society is high on the agenda for business leaders across the world, including Australia, and is essential for shaping a better future.

“Delivery of an outcome in digital transformation is dependent on leadership, employee empowerment, robust ecosystems, and of course establishing greater trust with customers and the community.”

And according to David Gentle, director of Strategy and Foresight at Fujitsu, business leaders appear to have already reached a “surprisingly high level of trust when it comes to AI-powered decision making”.

“This is particularly true in areas that have less human impact – where six out of ten are ready to allow AI to make decisions in the case of manufacturing quality control, for example, and 56% are happy for AI to make judgements in sport,” Gentle said.

“Despite digital transformation being complete or underway at 87% of companies in the survey, the challenge of trust still remains an issue – especially related to how organisations handle personal data.

“Some 72% of CxOs and decision-makers are worried their personal data may be exploited by organisations without permission. Nevertheless, 69% of respondents find it acceptable to provide personal data to companies they perceive as trustworthy, and in 67% take the same view in situations where this personal data can help enhance products and services.”

Gentle also said there was a widespread and growing sense that trust was eroding across society and business.

“We think that rebuilding trust has become the central building block to a better future. Fujitsu has always believed that trust lies at the root of business success and we provide robust support for the trust underlying our customers' businesses.

“We are working to help create a prosperous future where people can live with peace of mind and trust in the technologies that enable it. This is Fujitsu’s vision of a Human Centric Intelligent Society.

“The benefits that have been brought by digital technology seem obvious and ubiquitous, however, trustworthiness of personal data control and the decisions made by AI are causing concern.

“As this new survey conducted by Fujitsu shows, organisations must work hard to create trustworthiness with their stakeholders and those that do so are more likely to be successful. The fact that the report also shows these concerns are shared by global business leaders is a positive sign, as it means the need for change is understood by people in a strong position to influence the future agenda.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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