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The CEO’s Guide to Generative AI

Ethics can’t be delegated.

Generative AI is unlike any technology that has come before. It’s swiftly disrupting business and society, forcing leaders to rethink their assumptions, plans, and strategies in real time.

To help CEOs stay on top of the fast-shifting changes, the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBM IBV) is releasing a series of targeted, research-backed guides to generative AI, on topics from data cybersecurity to tech investment strategy to customer experience. This is part eight - Responsible AI & ethics:

Human values are at the heart of responsible AI.

As companies race to discover all the incredible new things generative AI can do, CEOs must lead the conversation about what it should do.

Each use case comes with its own ethical dilemmas and compliance concerns: How can companies protect sensitive data? How can they use AI in a manner that respects copyrights? Are AI outputs biased, discriminatory—or just plain wrong?

While answering these questions takes the entire team, CEOs and government leaders must set the organization’s moral compass. The course they chart will define how the business will balance cutting-edge innovation with the age-old principles of integrity and trust – a key dependency to government fulfilling its mission.

CEOs and government leaders must implement policies and processes that provide transparency and accountability across the board, offering clarity on how and where technology is being used, as well as the source of the data sets or underlying foundation models. This work will be ongoing, as the organization will need to continuously monitor and evaluate their AI portfolios to ensure they remain in line as policies and processes evolve.

Leaders must foster a culture focused on AI ethics, which aims to optimize AI’s beneficial impact while reducing risks and adverse outcomes for all stakeholders in a way that prioritizes human agency and well-being, as well as environmental sustainability. This will be a socio-technical challenge that can’t be solved with technology alone. Ongoing investments in organizational culture, workflows, and frameworks are necessary to be successful at scale.

The court of public opinion will judge whether companies and government are behaving ethically—and in line with consumer values. In this way, fairness and appropriateness will be gauged subjectively. But compliance will not.

The IBM Institute for Business Value has identified three things every leader needs to know:

1. CEOs can’t pass the buck on AI ethics.

2. Customers are judging every decision you make. Don’t jeopardize their trust.

3. Some companies freeze in the headlights of regulatory ambiguity.

And three things every leader needs to do right now:

1. Give ethics teams a seat at the table—not an unfunded mandate.

2. Earn trust by aligning with customer expectations.

3. Bake in ethics and regulatory preparedness for all AI and data investments.

Read the report and learn more about what your peers are sharing on this important topic now and for the future. Hear how executives understand what’s at stake: 58% believe that major ethical risks abound with the adoption of generative AI, which would be very difficult to manage without new, or at least more mature, governance structures.

See how IBM’s multidisciplinary, multidimensional approach is helping advance responsible AI. Read our perspective on foundation model opportunities, risks and mitigations.

For any questions or requests contact your IBM Representative today.

Restlessly reinventing since 1911, International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) has decades of experience strategically partnering with leading government organizations all over the globe, to help them build innovative technology solutions that accelerate the digital transformation of government.