Exploring the Ethics of AI

A robot contemplates the ethics of AI.

In today’s rapidly evolving landscape, embracing technology is no longer just an option, it’s a necessity.

Recently, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a popular and powerful tool across the digital plane–one that can drive meaningful change in associations, too!

However, when approaching AI adoption, it’s important to do so thoughtfully and with care. You may have heard horror stories about art thieves using AI to steal the hard work of others, or perhaps of lawyers using it to generate their briefs (complete with made-up citations!)–but rest assured, AI is NOT “evil”!

Instead, it’s important to see AI technology for what it truly is: a useful tool. And, like any tool, it’s only as powerful–and benevolent–as the user.

So, where does this leave associations? How can organizations assure their members that AI is here to help (not hurt) their cause?

The answer lies in three simple words: transparency, accountability, and privacy.

Understanding AI: A Quick Overview

Before we dive into the ethics of the tool, let’s demystify AI a little more.

Think of AI as a computer program that learns and makes decisions based on data. It’s like having a brilliant assistant that can help streamline operations and provide valuable insights. AI can automate tedious tasks and pinpoint what to fix to make your content truly great.

When used in conjunction with an association’s learning management system, AI can analyze the behaviour of members and provide associations with key considerations to help them streamline their services and provide better online continuing education.

And that’s all it is, really: a powerful tool for data analysis!

The Heart of the Matter: Ethical AI Adoption

When we talk about the ethical use of AI, we’re referring to using this technology in a way that respects members’ values. It’s about making decisions that benefit everyone–without crossing boundaries–and putting members’ minds at ease.

That’s where those three simple words come in!

1. Transparency

To start, you don’t want to hide your decision to incorporate AI into your platform like it’s a terrible secret; this will just make more tech-savvy members assume you’re covering something up. What you want to do is be clear about how and why you plan to leverage AI.

We’re most afraid of the things we don’t know. Consider horror movies: is it the seen or the unseen monster that scares you the most? The answer is usually “unseen”, right? There are even times when finally getting a glimpse of the “Big Bad” is a relief–or even a letdown!

In many cases, we end up frightening ourselves with our own imaginations. This boosts the “scare factor” of things we aren’t familiar with–and it’s no different with technology!

Thankfully, there’s an easy solution: all you have to do is communicate with your members. If they have concerns, address them. You can even hold a question-and-answer session to help put their fears to rest.

Let the scares stay in the horror movies; AI is here to improve the association space!

2. Accountability

Establish clear lines of responsibility for AI-driven decisions within your association. When you incorporate AI technology with your association’s platform, you aren’t doing so to replace anyone; you’re simply taking a new tool from the shelf and using it to better shape your creations.

For example, you may use AI to automate tasks like member sign-up emails. You may use it to pinpoint broken website links or areas in a course that should be reworked. You may even use it to recommend personalized learning paths based on member preferences!

When it comes down to it, accountability and transparency go hand-in-hand. By letting members know the boundaries of the integration, it will help them understand how AI will be used on your platform: ethically and for the betterment of all!

3. Privacy

Safeguarding sensitive information is paramount. Make sure any data you use is handled with the utmost care.

This best practice isn’t limited to the use of AI, however; you want to ensure your association’s data is safe, whatever the situation! Learn how to avoid ransomware, how to boost your association’s data protection, and how to keep payments safe. Audit often and stay secure!

Like with accountability, privacy links back to transparency; members should know that their data isn’t being scraped and sold. Association AI is for analytics and automation, simple as that.

The Road Ahead

Embracing AI is a journey, not a sprint. By approaching it ethically and fairly, you’re not only future-proofing your association, but you’re also ensuring that the benefits will be felt by members one and all.

Learn to leverage the analysis power of AI, and you’ll be one step closer to achieving ultimate membership value!