“Relativity applies to physics, not ethics.” -Albert Einstein
It’s extra hot in Vegas this week, and we’re looking forward to the start of TC22. The conference kicks off tomorrow with a keynote session that includes Tableau CEO, Mark Nelson. That discussion is not about the BI tool named after the aforementioned theoretical physicist, but a focus on industry trends, including “The data opportunity ahead and new innovations that are shaping how the world sees, understands, and acts on data.”
A few months ago in his company’s 2022 data trends report, the Tableau CEO took a look at a different topic: The state of AI ethics and what lies ahead. While business ethics might be an evergreen topic, advances in technology do change the specific challenges that the organizations face. Drawing on the research from leading organizations, here are a few of the points that Mark highlighted:
- The prediction that public and private organizations will collaborate to reform ethics policies. Within a few years, regulations will require companies to focus more on AI ethics and transparency, resulting in greater trust and function of AI globally
- Recognizing the role of data literacy in managing data quality and other risks that can hinder AI development and scaling
- The need to align data transparency with human values and ethics to build transparency or explain-ability
With Mark’s comments in mind, how should industry leaders get started? A recent HBR article, Ethics and AI: Conversations Companies Need to Have, stated, “Getting to the desired outcomes requires learning to talk about these issues differently. First, companies must decide who needs to be part of these conversations.” It’s a good point, but perhaps the real first step is to expand the pool of potential contributors, previously seen as a small subset of the workforce. One of the main pathways to transparency is breaking down barriers not just to the data itself but to the ability to visualize, analyze and effectively use the data that has been collected. Simplifying the complexity and increasing access to the tools will increase the number of data-empowered individuals, and enable greater participation in the conversation by a wider range of stakeholders.
The opportunity for companies throughout the tech community to show leadership is clear. Making data literacy a priority (something Tableau has already pledged to do) will go a long way, and the initiative can go even further if and when it involves a wide range of stakeholders, including partners, industry media, and non-profit organizations.
At SpringML, we’re looking forward to conversations on these topics at Tableau Conference 2022 and throughout the year. Please visit our landing page to learn more about our session, and let us know if you plan to attend, whether in person or virtually.