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January 24, 2022
EDITORIAL OP-ED OPINION POINTS OF VIEW

Dentons survey: Global business leaders voice major concerns over the use of Artificial Intelligence

World’s largest law firm calls for a system of ‘algorethics’ so that the right checks and balances can be put in place

Global business leaders harbor major concerns over the decisions and omissions made by Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems – despite the fact that 60% of companies now use them.

Dentons, the world’s largest law firm, has conducted a survey of global business leaders on their organizations’ use of AI, as well as on the risks and opportunities presented by AI technologies. The results of the survey reveal that businesses around the world recognize the many benefits of AI, such as saving time by automating processes, generating data-driven business information for decision making and reducing human error in processing, while also surfacing the following areas of concern:

  • 81% cited personal data protection as a significant concern, yet only 55% of businesses actually have data protection policies for both personal and non-personal data in place.
  • Only 19% of businesses have a strategy or roadmap for AI, meaning that it is being implemented without proper consideration of the risks, the relevant legislation or the internal controls required to ensure it is well-governed.
  • 80% of business leaders report uncertainty over where liability sits for the decisions as well as omissions made by AI systems.
  • 57% harbor concerns about the potential for discrimination arising from the actions of AI systems.
  • Depending on the area of law, between 55% and 75% are unaware of relevant AI legislation in their country, and 63% do not know which public body regulates the area.
  • Businesses are urgently looking to regulators to provide protection mechanisms on the use of AI in relation to privacy (61%), consumer protection (52%), criminal liability (46%) and intellectual property (45%).

‘AI has become part of everyday life and businesses are riding a wave of optimism as they pursue growth strategies that incorporate the implementation of these fast-developing technologies,’ said Giangiacomo Olivi, Dentons’ Co-Head of Europe Data Privacy and Cybersecurity, Intellectual Property and Technology.

‘However, global business leaders are beginning to ask serious questions about where the responsibility for good governance, regulation and compliance sits. We urgently need to start a dialogue on the controls needed to protect businesses, customers, shareholders and communities. With the release of the Dentons AI survey we are calling call for a system of “algorethics” so that the right checks and balances can be put in place. Moral considerations need to become an integral part of the development of AI technologies, balancing business objectives with a focus on people.’

The Dentons AI survey was conducted online amongst 209 global business leaders in September 2021. It was complemented by an additional 698 responses to LinkedIn polls. The survey underpins the Dentons Artificial Intelligence Guide which presents insights from Dentons lawyers on the legal and regulatory issues that businesses using AI will need to grapple with. It is supplemented with snapshots of government strategies and regulatory developments in Europe, Canada, China, India, Israel and the United States.

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