Will 2021 be the year of ethical and explainable AI? Since I founded Omina Technologies in 2016 companies have a better understanding of AI but are struggling to get AI in production. I believe ethical and explainable AI can be the solution to get AI in production.
Since 2016 I have been giving speeches about the importance of ethical and explainable artificial intelligence (AI) in Europe, Africa and the US. Until recently, very few people outside of academia were talking about the importance of ethical AI and explainable AI.
In 2016 and 2017 companies still needed help understanding the capabilities of artificial intelligence. Managers at many companies did not understand the technology and had unrealistic expectations regarding AI. I often spoke with people who were scared of AI because they thought it would supplant human decision making. Conversely, they thought AI was the answer to everything and would quickly and easily solve all their problems. Still other companies thought AI was only for the big players like Alibaba, Google and Facebook and questioned whether they too could leverage this exciting technology.
Five years later, at the start of 2021, companies have a better understanding of AI, yet according to Forbes, less than 15% of companies are actually using AI in production. While AI is a game-changer, there is significant frustration with the technology. The Coronavirus has exacerbated the situation. A recent article in the Belgian newspaper, De Morgen, had the headline, “Corona has taught us we’re nowhere when it comes to artificial intelligence”. But is this true? Why haven’t companies made bigger strides when it comes to AI? Why aren’t more companies using AI in production?
One answer to these questions is that companies are just starting to understand that AI is not plug and play. If companies want to leverage AI in practice, they must ensure that algorithms are trusted, explainable and won’t create any liability issues down the road. In other words, maximizing the benefits of AI also requires consideration and mitigation of risks introduced in adoption.