Can startups make AI ethical and responsible?

Bernardo Montes de Oca

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is all the rage, but so are concerns about its ethics and responsible use. As UNESCO put it, the problems with AI stems from those who helped make it possible in the first place and their views of society. As a result, everything from sexualized, biased content to how it creates art (by using heavy influence from existing artists) is up for debate. Thankfully, startups are working hard to change this, and their very essence makes this possible. 

There's no denying that we're living in intriguing times that, for some, might feel intimidating, especially when even OpenAI's CEO, Sam Altman, warns of how quickly things are changing. Jobs are on the line, and we rely too much on technology that still needs improvement. So, the pressure is on, and startups are working hard to ensure that AI is useful for society. 

Regarding ethics, startups have a superpower—the ability to prioritize it right from the beginning. Unlike big corporations stuck in their old ways, startups are agile. They can build ethical considerations into their AI systems right from the get-go and have been leading the charge in developing ethical guidelines and best practices that can shape the whole industry.

One of the most frustrating things about AI is, ironically, its decision-making. Anyone who has used these platforms can relate. You ask AI to do something, and when looking at the results, you have no clue how or why it reached those conclusions. Plus, even big names such as Microsoft and Google have warned about AI relying on flawed databases. 

Hence, the stage is set for AI chaos. It seems as though we need people working hard to create AI systems that can be explored and explained to us regular folks. In fact, there's even a term for it: Ethical AI, and the list is getting longer every day. That's where startups come in, hoping to save the day. 

The idea is that these startups work with existing AI systems, making them ethical, or build products that remove the bias, unfairness, and lack of ethics plaguing our society by creating cool stuff like explainable AI algorithms and visualization tools that give us a peek behind the AI curtain. So now we can finally understand how these AI decisions are made, and that's a big win for transparency and trust.

One of AI's most significant issues is bias, however, startups like Neurons are on a mission to detect and tackle biases in AI algorithms, data, and decision-making processes. Neurons is a Danish neuroscience and machine-learning marketing platform that uses neuroscience to improve products, brands, and experiences. The startup's traction is so substantial that it has even attracted former Danish Prime Minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, to join the Board of Directors. Her presence is vital to help make the right decisions with the right databases, which are essential for startups, but only a few have access to. 

What's fascinating is that even those within the startup world are already warning others about the overly enthusiastic use of AI, especially when we don't understand it fully. So, it's best if we curb our addiction. For example, AI expert Lance Eliot warned us recently that leaning too much into platforms such as ChatGPT is risky. After all, such a platform could become dangerously massive for the wrong reasons. So, for example, many startup founders need to learn what the banned uses are and the minute details which could get in the way of creating a successful and, most importantly, ethical use of AI. 

That's not to say that startups shouldn't use AI; quite the opposite. In fact, many startups are using AI to save the world in their own way. They're not just in it for profit — they're driven by a desire to positively impact society and the environment. From healthcare diagnostics to poverty alleviation, climate change monitoring, disaster response, and improving education access, startups are using AI to tackle real-world problems. They're proving that AI can be a force for good, and that's pretty amazing.

One such example is QuantPi, a German startup that focuses on providing a platform where other companies and enterprises can identify and mitigate the risks involved with their AI solutions, including ethical, commercial, and reputational. Think of it as an AI quality assurance audit. As a result, the company landed essential funding in 2022 to help expand its services. 

Efforts like QuantPi are essential and (fortunately) they are becoming more common. We can think of this effort as musicians forming a band, bringing unique skills to create something amazing. For example, academic institutions are like music schools where startups go to learn new techniques and expand their knowledge. By partnering with these institutions, startups gain access to the latest research and academic expertise in AI ethics. 

Then, there are nonprofit organizations, which could act as socially conscious record labels. They ensure that startups use AI that addresses real-world issues. In addition, these partnerships provide guidance on ethical frameworks, ensuring that the AI tunes being played are both catchy and responsible. Finally, there are industry leaders who act as experienced band members who have been rocking the AI scene for a while. They act as mentors to startups. It's like a jam session where everyone brings their expertise to the table, fine-tuning the AI melodies for maximum ethical impact.

Together, these collaborations create a harmonious ecosystem of ethical AI. By joining forces, startups, academic institutions, nonprofits, and industry leaders create a collective symphony that elevates ethical AI practices, fostering innovation and ensuring that the AI “music” being played resonates with the needs and values of society.

Startups are driving the movement for ethical and responsible AI, and they're doing it by forming incredible collaborations. Like a band where talented musicians come together to create beautiful music, startups are teaming up with academic institutions, nonprofits, and industry leaders to make ethical AI a reality. It's a collaboration that rocks, proving that when we work together, we can make AI sing in perfect harmony with our values and aspirations.

Want more content like this? Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter! It will quickly become your one-stop shop for startup news.

Subscribe here

Bernardo Montes de Oca
Content creator in love with writing in all its forms, from scripts to short stories to investigative journalism, and about almost every topic imaginable.
Slidebean logo
© Copyright 2024 Slidebean Incorporated. All rights reserved.
Made with 💙️ in New York City and San Jose