Why every company should have an AI policy

By: Martin Lee
Tag(s): Data
Published: Oct 04, 2023
Why every company should have an AI policy

As generative AI services have become increasingly accessible to a wider audience, it's more important than ever for businesses to set out a guiding framework that supports its usage. This framework should comprehensively address the potential pitfalls in relation to AI and security, ethical, legal, and data protection yet it should not be so restrictive that it stifles innovation. 

Many businesses are finding that while AI is an exciting and dynamic area of growth, it also introduces some new challenges and scenarios that may not be covered by existing company policies.

Let’s delve into the key areas that a robust AI policy should consider:

Managing Data Security and Privacy

AI systems require substantial amounts of data for training and operation, making data security and privacy crucial considerations. A good AI policy will establish guidelines for data collection, storage, and usage, ensuring compliance with data protection regulations and safeguarding sensitive information. This not only protects the company from breaches but also enhances customer confidence in data handling practices. It can be unclear with some consumer AI services where data is held, processed or how it is secured - these will all influence the use cases that are allowed and not allowed at your business.

Mitigating Legal and Regulatory Risks

The rapid evolution of AI has outpaced the development of specific regulations governing its use. This regulatory gap poses legal risks for companies that fail to comply with existing laws or anticipate upcoming regulations. An AI policy should aid companies in navigating complex legal landscapes by providing a framework for adhering to data protection, intellectual property, and industry-specific regulations. By proactively addressing legal concerns, companies can avoid costly litigations and reputational damage.

Ensuring Ethical AI Practice

AI systems can make autonomous decisions based on data and patterns, but these decisions can sometimes have unintended ethical consequences and biases in their outputs and results. Without a well-defined AI policy, companies risk deploying AI technologies that may inadvertently discriminate, reinforce biases, or infringe upon privacy rights. An AI policy enforces ethical guidelines for the development, deployment, and monitoring of AI systems, helping companies ensure fairness, transparency, and accountability in their AI operations.

Fostering Consumer Trust

Trust is the cornerstone of customer relationships, and AI's opaque nature could have the potential toerode this trust. A comprehensive AI policy communicates a company's commitment to responsible AI use, assuring customers that their data is handled ethically and is being used for beneficial purposes. Being able to demonstrate that policies and controls are in place to cover AI usage will become a much more common requirement as time goes on.Certainly,  it will become a standard part of multiple due diligence and RFP processes in the near future, so this could be an opportunity to get ahead of the game.

Optimising AI for Business Success & Authoring

AI technologies have the potential to revolutionise business processes, from enhancing customer experiences to optimising supply chain operations. However, the lack of a coherent AI policy can hinder strategic implementation. With a well-defined policy, companies can align AI initiatives with business objectives, allocate resources efficiently, and integrate AI seamlessly into their operations.

There is also the emerging area of ownership and authoring of content created by generative AI. Is it acceptable for a member of staff to create something made up of 100% AI-generated content and presenting it as their own work? Does that have implications for taking responsibility for that content? The answer to either of these will depend on the business, but both questions can be addressed as part of the ethical clauses in a strong AI policy.

Balancing restrictions with innovation

Lastly, it can be tempting to severely restrict the use of AI services to try and protect the business, but this could be too restrictive. Seeing  as consumer generative AI services are readily available to the public, being too restrictive can run the risk of creating new problems like data leakage or data breaches. It is better practice to accept (in most cases) that staff will make use of AI services to some extent and instead use a well-formed AI policy to ensure this complies with existing company policies and processes. 

AI is starting to be built into existing tools that are already in use across many businesses so it is not as simple as banning the use of consumer generative AI services such as ChatGPT or Bard. In the near future most companies and staff will find they are impacted by AI one way or another, so policies need to keep up with this and are also likely to need reviewing more frequently than most standard security policies.

Considering all of these points and how  AI is reshaping industries and redefining possibilities, it is clear that having a robust AI policy is no longer a luxury – it is a necessity. Such a policy provides a roadmap for companies to harness AI's potential while upholding ethical standards, complying with regulations, and fostering trust among stakeholders. By proactively addressing the multi-faceted challenges posed by AI, companies can position themselves as responsible innovators and secure their relevance in an AI-driven world.

If you are wondering how you can position yourself as one of these responsible AI innovators, Ancoris is ready to support you on your journey. We have a dedicated team of experts who work with AI day in and day out, making Ancoris well-placed to help you fully leverage its potential for your business. Want to start now? Get in touch with us today.

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