Bank of America and Harvard University have collaborated on a new initiative designed to make the complex technologies behind artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) more universally beneficial and accessible to the global workforce. The mission of the newly formed Council on the Responsible Use of Artificial Intelligence is to address issues of policy and ethics, thereby enabling industries and the individuals who drive them to keep pace with the rapidly evolving interface between people and machines.
Through the development of best practices and by maintaining a transparent dialogue, the Council strives to leverage the speed and convenience that AI and ML can provide industries such as finance, healthcare, retail, manufacturing and others. Bank of America’s chief operations and technology officer, Cathy Bessant, is a founding member of the council, which was formed in April 2018.
“I started thinking about the implications of the potential uses for artificial intelligence about 18 months ago,” she explained. “A huge piece of this is my own workforce here at Bank of America. In the face of ever-increasing technological change, how do we keep a workforce engaged and motivated? How are we thinking proactively about career development and career transformation? Can somebody who processes [data] manually today learn artificial intelligence, or learn how to manage a team of bots or machines that create outcomes in place of people?”
Therein lies the rub with artificial intelligence in a world that may not be quite ready for its benefits and, as some would say, possible pitfalls. While AI possesses vast potential for simplifying our lives, Bessant’s concerns are validated by the fact that many people view it as a threat to their livelihoods, creating skepticism and, in extreme cases, fear.
To help change the current ideology, the Council was formed to research the latest developments in this emerging technology and to educate the populace on its legal and moral implications, as well as to develop better, more useful and responsible ways to utilize a gift that is still widely misunderstood.