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HomeNewsDeloitte Study: Ethical Use Guides C-level Decisions About Workforce Preparation for AI

Deloitte Study: Ethical Use Guides C-level Decisions About Workforce Preparation for AI

Importance of ethical AI guidelines and policies corresponds with revenue growth, responses indicate

Today, Deloitte released a new study, Preparing the workforce for ethical, responsible, and trustworthy AI: C-suite perspectives,” that outlines corporate priorities and actions to harness AI’s benefits while maintaining trust and equitable outcomes.

The study from Deloitte’s Technology Trust Ethics practice surveyed 100 C-level executives to understand how their organizations develop ethical AI principles, and how they inform and educate their workforces about AI ethics.

Among executives surveyed, publishing clear policies and guidelines was ranked the most effective method of communicating AI ethics to the workforce, followed by workshops and trainings. The survey also shows that C-level executives associate the highest importance of ethical guidelines for emerging tech with revenue growth (55%), followed by brand reputation and marketplace trust (47%).

Additional key findings include:

  • Among C-level executives surveyed, 86% say their organizations have either implemented ethics policies and guidelines or are about to do so. Almost half of respondents (49%) report their organizations currently have guidelines or policies in place regarding the ethical use of AI, and another 37% said they are nearly ready to roll policies out.
  • Boards of directors are involved in creating AI ethics policies as often as ethics officers. Respondents indicated that boards of directors (52%) and chief ethics officers (52%) are always involved in creating policies and guidelines for the ethical use of AI.
  • Organizations are reskilling and making corporate acquisitions to prepare their labor force for AI. Enterprises are actively training and upskilling their workforces (45%), acquiring organizations with AI capabilities and skills (45%) and hiring for AI (44%) to prepare their employees for the integration of AI — and roughly an additional 40% say they are close to ready to do the same.
  • Ethics researchers and specialists are sought out more than ethics officers. More executives surveyed said their organizations are currently hiring or planning to hire for positions including AI ethics researchers (53%), compliance specialists (53%), and technology policy analysts (51%) than C-suite roles such as a chief ethics officer (38%) or chief trust officer (36%).

Key quotes

“At every step, the creation or use of emerging technologies like AI present an opportunity to ensure we’re positively advancing a more equitable and prosperous world,” said Kwasi Mitchell, chief purpose and DEI officer at Deloitte US. “Organizations certainly play a critical role in the responsible adoption and implementation of AI, and I’m encouraged by the inputs we’re seeing from C-level leaders to prioritize ethical awareness, training and use so we can collectively produce better outcome for our businesses and people as a result.”

“As organizations increase their use of AI, the survey indicates that the C-suite is highly aware of the need to provide comprehensive ethics trainings in tandem to prepare their labor force,” said Beena Ammanath, US Technology Trust Ethics leader, Deloitte LLP. “Companies’ concurrent strategies upskilling their own employees, hiring for new roles and even acquiring companies that have existing AI capabilities demonstrate they recognize the immense possibility that only the human element can generate from AI.”