AI will change the world—the terms are up to us

IBM at the B7

We are living in a watershed moment for AI: the European Parliament has just voted on the EU AI Act, which will regulate and govern the use and implications of this technology. In turn, governments and enterprises are getting ready to set their own standards around AI. AI featured in the G7 Ministerial Meeting in Verona, Italy, and in conversations happening in parallel in the Business Federations gatherings, or B7. I had the opportunity to bring IBM’s perspective to these industry discussions.

At IBM, we firmly believe that AI can deliver huge benefits in every field. But first, we must overcome barriers to adoption and build trust in this exciting technology.

From bleeding edge to standard issue

Most organizations have kicked off their AI journey. Our research shows that 42% of large enterprises have AI actively deployed while another 40% are in the experimentation phase (source: IBM Global AI Adoption Index). But few are realizing the full potential of AI solutions. What’s holding them back?

Our analysis shows that the top three factors are limited AI skills and expertise (33%), data complexity (25%), and ethical concerns (23%). IBM plans to build on a long legacy of democratizing technology by helping to dissolve these barriers.

First we will continue to invest in open and transparent innovation around AI. Promoting collaboration and information sharing surfaces risks sooner—and helps the international community mitigate those risks faster. Initiatives such as the AI Alliance help engender an open AI community that prioritizes responsibility, safety, and innovation.

We believe it’s in everyone’s interests to foster open market ecosystems around AI. The increased competition will help level the playing field for companies of all sizes, regardless of their access to data and compute resources.

Our solutions are designed to address complexity at every level: from data to governance to scaling. IBM believes that scaling AI with governance is the path to sustainable, ethically responsible AI—boosting customer trust and corporate reputation.

Building that all-important trust

The headline of the IBM vision for AI is that both industry and government must continue to build and grow confidence in the technology worldwide. The EU AI Act is a breakthrough in regulating this fast-evolving field. In our latest AI Adoption research, 85% of IT professionals strongly or somewhat agree that consumers are more likely to choose services from companies with transparent and ethical AI practices, while 83% of companies deploying or exploring the technology stated that being able to explain how their AI reached a decision is important to their business.

Navigating the increasingly complex global regulatory landscape is a challenge for businesses and organizations of all sizes. That’s why we released watsonx.governance, an integrated platform that’s designed to break open the black box of AI.

Moreover, IBM fully backs the work undertaken during last year’s Japanese G7 Presidency to develop the Hiroshima Principles—a set of guiding principles for organizations worldwide to develop advanced AI systems that promote safe, secure and trustworthy AI. We look forward to supporting the Italian Presidency in building on this solid foundation.

As next steps, we propose that the G7 task an AI workstream to create a ‘crosswalk’ to compare the AI regulatory regimes in individual member countries to the Hiroshima Principles. We believe this move could help establish gaps and differences, and accelerate the international harmonization of standards and adoption of best practices for AI. This would allow the G7 to focus its attention on specific policy areas that require additional time and resources (such as AI safety).

Looking to the future

We can’t stop looking ahead. Even though AI is at an exciting turning point, there is so much more on the horizon thanks to technologies like quantum computing. Our belief is that AI and quantum computing will work in tandem, with quantum extending classical machine learning, but not replacing it. So, just like with AI, we are pioneering quantum governance Combining different technologies will broaden the problems we can solve, from the climate crisis to food insecurity to global health.  

At IBM we believe we have a responsibility to ensure innovation solves problems faster than it creates them. Again: openness, transparency, and collaboration are the principles that will help us fulfill the full potential of new technologies to change the world for the better.

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