AI and Ethics in the Augmented Age of Customer Experience

Published: Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020

ith AI being the fastest growing technology sector in the world – $38 billion invested in the last 12 months, with 40% of service work to be done by software robots within the next five years and 30% of customer interactions to be conducted by machines within the next three years — we are truly in the Augmented Age of Customer Experience. AI makes things smarter, faster, cheaper but it also breaks things smarter, faster and cheaper. So, what risk does AI pose to customers in the next 10 years and how will we manage this?

Gartner predicts that in the next two years, 85% of AI projects will produce erroneous outcomes. This statistic is staggering and very concerning especially when it relates to customer experience. Numerous governments across the world have now released AI Ethics Frameworks and Guidelines that will affect how organizations manage customer experience. Some of the key principles for an AI Ethics framework that will significantly impact customer experience include:

  1. Human, Social and Environmental well-being: AI systems should benefit individuals, society and the environment.
  2. Human-centred values: AI systems should respect human rights, diversity, and the autonomy of individuals.
  3. Fairness: AI systems should be inclusive and accessible and should not involve or result in unfair discrimination against individuals, communities or groups.
  4. Privacy protection & security: AI systems should respect and uphold privacy rights and data protection and ensure the security of data.
  5. Reliability and Safety: AI systems should reliably operate in accordance with their intended purpose.
  6. Transparency & Accountability: There should be transparency and responsible disclosure to ensure people know when they are being significantly impacted by an AI system, and can find out when an AI system is engaging with them.
  7. Contestability: When an AI system significantly impacts a person, community, group or environment, there should be a timely process to allow people to challenge the use or output of the AI system.
  8. Accountability: Those responsible for the different phases of the AI system lifecycle should be identifiable and accountable for the outcomes of the AI systems, and human oversight of AI systems should be enabled.

What this means for customer experience is the following: customers should expect that AI providing them with an experience, be it a virtual assistant, a personalization engine, predictive analytics, computer vision such as facial recognition, or cognitive devices and applications, adheres to ethical principles.

And if a customer did suspect that they had been treated unfairly by an AI they have the right to contest the outcome, the organization must then be completely transparent as to how the AI or algorithm came up with the outcome, the organization and the AI vendor must then he held accountable directly to the individual customer for the outcome.

So with this incredibly exciting era of human+machine we will also see a rise in ethics for technology and customer experience and those organizations who embrace this early on in their digital transformation journey will win customer trust – trust being the most valuable currency of customer experience in the next 10 years.

About the Author

Catriona is the Founder & Executive Director of Artificial Intelligence and ASX Listed company Flamingo Ai, provider of Machine Learning based technologies. Flamingo Ai is the second only woman led (CEO & Chair) business ever to list on the Australian Stock Exchange. Described by Womens’ Agenda as one of the Top 30 Women redefining business, Catriona has also achieved Advance Global’s highest award in Technology & Innovation for Australians working abroad. She has a PhD in Organizational Behaviour: Technology Substituting for Human Leaders and is one of the world’s most cited experts on the topics of Artificial Intelligence, Customer Experience, Ethics & Human Rights in technology and Women in Leadership.

Follow Catriona @CatrionaWallace

This article is an excerpt from our new eBook Build a Better Customer Experience available here.