Acting ethically with AI

By Jonathan Jackson. Published at Oct 4, 2019, in Ctrl Alt Del

At the request of WordPress Digital Experience Platform WP Engine, researchers at The University of London and Vanson Bourne were tasked with exploring the present and near future of artificial intelligence (AI)-driven human digital experiences on the web, and the often tenuous but rewarding relationship between consumers, brands and AI.

The international study commissioned by WP Engine has found that whilst AI improves financials for 91.3% of Australian enterprises, organisations will need to ethically consider consumer concerns around data management to successfully harness the emerging technology.

The study surveyed consumers and enterprise companies (1,000 employees or more) in Australia, the US and UK. It found that 93% of Australian consumers believe organisations should be able to explain how they use personal data.

“The degree of long-term benefits AI will bring to an enterprise’s digital initiatives is deeply linked with the importance of aligning brand values with a core set of ethical decision-making values,” said Mark Randall, Australia and New Zealand Country Manager at WP Engine.

“The Australian brands who successfully integrate the revenue-driving power of AI with the trust, safety, and values customers expect will be successful in creating winning, powerful digital experiences.”

AI Value

The study showed that AI has a significant impact on company performance: 89.3% of Australian brands say AI has helped them increase or widen their competitive advantage. It also found that a majority (91.3%) of enterprise IT decision makers indicate AI improves financial performance, as such 34% of enterprises plan to increase their AI budgets by significant amounts (50-75%) on top of a base of more than $1 million a year spent on AI by the majority of enterprises surveyed (72%).

Highlights of the survey include:

● 91.3% of Australian enterprises say AI helps them optimise efficiency

● 86% of brands see a positive return on investment on the AI systems they use to power the digital experiences they offer their customers

● 86% of enterprises say AI allows them to improve customer service

AI Values

AI provides organisations with a powerful format to promote their core values, surfacing utility and aligning benefits more closely associated with their brand and its value proposition to consumers.

However, in an era of increasingly purpose-driven consumption, values-related topics are of high importance to Australian consumers and enterprises.

Organisations must align to consumer values as well as fulfil their ethical commitments to the people, community and environment with and in which they do business.

By providing a safe space of privacy and trust, the ability for enterprises to offer incredible digital experiences becomes almost limitless.

Organisations are now starting to see the benefits of AI, but they are yet to capitalise on these strengths in a way that delivers true utility and aligns with the human needs of consumers.

The study shows a clear preference from consumers for the following values-based imperatives:

● 94% of Australian respondents believe that protections for personal data shared on websites should meet established data security and privacy standards

● 93% of the respondents believe organisations should be able to explain how they use personal data

● 92% of Australian consumers believe maintaining trust during personalised digital experiences is important

AI Digital Experiences

The study found the interplay of value and values across three core pillars—personalisation, data exchange and meaning—is required to build safe, reliable and compelling digital experiences.

When the power of AI is added to each of these pillars, digital experiences truly take off, becoming more engaging and offering a more personable and human interaction that today’s Australian online consumers demand.

AI ROI

Australian companies are already putting AI to use in today's digital experiences. 86% of enterprises say they see a positive ROI on the AI they invest into power digital experiences. The return on investment of AI is clear for businesses, with 49.3% of those surveyed seeing a visible increase in sales volume, but it’s not too early to think about how AI will be able to make tough but ethical decisions.

57.2% of Australian respondents believe AI will have a positive impact on the world, but 45.2% believe bias in AI could cause unequal representation of minorities. At the same time, 54.2% believe AI is an opportunity to overcome human bias.

“Our research shows enterprises investing in AI are already seeing astounding return on investment and performance outcomes,” said Dr. Chris Brauer, Director of Innovation at Goldsmiths, University of London.

“Consumers are demanding that innovating with AI in digital experiences clearly prioritises and expresses values around privacy, trust, and transparency. Only by laying a solid foundation of ethics and values that guide the implementation of all facets of an AI solution, will companies truly be able to fully harness the value of AI."

To read the complete “The Value of Values: Building Better Digital Experience with AI” study, please visithttps://wpengine.com/more/ai-research-anz, where you can learn more about the results, listen to the research webinar and download a copy of the ebook and infographic.

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