12 Ways to Address the Risks Big Data and AI Pose to the Business World

Members of the Young Entrepreneur Council offer advice on identifying and mitigating the harmful effects these technologies might have on society.
Young Entrepreneur Council
Expert Contributor
August 14, 2020
Updated: August 18, 2020
Young Entrepreneur Council
Expert Contributor
August 14, 2020
Updated: August 18, 2020
Headshots of YEC contributing members
Top, from left: Lane Campbell, Josh Kohlbach, Josh Weiss, Stephanie Wells. Middle, from left: Samuel Thimothy, Blair Williams, Zac Johnson, Ryan Meghdies. Bottom, from left: Vikas Agrawal, Thomas Griffin, Jared Atchison, Bill Mullholland. | Photo: Young Entrepreneur Council

Some of the modern world’s biggest concerns — things like equality, democracy, employment rates, and many others may seem like disconnected topics, but they are all part of the fabric out of which our modern world is woven. We have seen tremendous and sweeping changes to each of these areas recently. But revolutionary advances in AI and big data are poised to impact these concerns and potentially many more.

The increasing prevalence of AI and big data use has triggered concerns about individual privacy, job security and, as expected, the amount of control people still have over their own information online. It’s not all gloom and doom, however. Once we determine how big data and AI affect the most intricate parts of our society, we can seek to dismantle their adverse effects. Here, 12 thought leaders from the Young Entrepreneur Council explore what leaders can do to counteract the possible harmful effects of big data and AI and their seemingly innocuous qualities that might actually threaten various aspects of society.

1. Understand Models Built With Predictive Systems

Artificial intelligence and machine learning make predictions based on the data they are provided. A lot of that data was derived from unfair and/or biased policies that can be weaponized for evil by the wrong people. It is important that leaders understand the data and the models being built with any predictive systems. Lane CampbellPAEAN

2. Document How Your AI Uses Your Data

Transparency is key. AI can be helpful to businesses as they strive to optimize and scale their organizations. But business leaders must understand how AI uses their data, both internally and externally. We must act as guardians of the data and use it responsibly — not just because we can. Document how your AI uses your data, how you safeguard it, and then tell customers too. Josh KohlbachWholesale Suite

3. Use AI in Conjunction With Humans

AI doesnt care about whats fair or whats right, but only about what accomplishes the goal it is programmed for (highest revenue per click, highest click rate, etc). The best approach is to use AI in conjunction with humans to ensure that equality doesnt get pushed aside in the name of maximizing revenue. —Josh WeissReggie

4. Be Upfront About the Dangers of AI in the Workplace

AI isnt perfect and can still bring businesses problems if something goes wrong. Unfortunately, hackers can study algorithms to improve their malware so it cant be detected by AI technology. Its best if leaders are upfront about the dangers that AI poses that threaten people in the workplace. Addressing the issue head on will gain them the most respect and build trust. Stephanie WellsFormidable Forms

5. Have Programs to Cushion Painful Effects of Transition

Its about the transition period. Many look at the economic upside that AI promises, scoffing at the fear of job loss and citing similar concerns skeptics had of the Industrial Revolution. The thing is, AI and automation will wipe out jobs but create new ones. Its about having programs to cushion the painful effects of the transition period. Samuel ThimothyOneIMS

6. Constantly Monitor and Test Your AI Tools

Amazon attempted to mitigate discrimination by using AI. What anyone failed to check was whether or not the data it was fed was biased. Resumes that mentioned women’s clubs and women’s institutes were automatically discarded. This attempt was scrapped. The lesson is that AI tools need to be monitored and continuously tested. Do not leave important decisions to it. Use it as a tool, not as a replacement. Blair WilliamsMemberPress

7. Provide Guidance on What Skills Will Be Needed

Companies that continue to use and focus their efforts on AI will not only see vast improvements in productivity and ROI, but will also revolutionize what jobs are considered necessary in the world market. As AI continues to advance, more jobs will become useless. In order to combat these issues, brand leaders should provide guidance on what type of work and skills are needed in years to come. Zac JohnsonBlogger

8. Demand Better Protection for Your Users

Big data isnt going away, but having laws in place that restrict the use of that data is an increasingly necessary solution. As a society, were still navigating how big data should and should not be used. Thankfully, many countries are progressing and pushing for better protection, and more businesses are demanding it on behalf of users. Ryan MeghdiesTastic Marketing Inc.

9. Use High-Network Security to Protect Privacy

Ever since the lockdown, there’s been speculation that physical currency will be banned and only virtual currency may be accepted for every transaction. Privacy will be one of the biggest concerns with this move. If and when all our personal data is out there, chaos will erupt if it gets into the wrong hands. Using high network security can be the solution. Vikas Agrawal, Infobrandz

10. Allow Consumers to Opt Out of AI-Powered Workflows

The way AI is being used to optimize and serve content online is a problem. It creates echo chambers for us, so we’re not used to hearing dissenting voices or opinions. Leaders can help by providing ways for consumers to opt out of AI-powered workflows and by identifying their use in these algorithms so consumers can be more aware of what’s going on around them. Thomas GriffinOptinMonster

11. Address the Lack of Diversity in AI

Because AI is developed by humans and humans are biased, AI is bound to feature bias itself. Computer science professor Olga Russakovsky says that most AI researchers are privileged white males, which leads to the illusion of objectivity. Leaders need to address the lack of diversity in AI and realize that it isnt a blanket solution to business problems. Jared AtchisonWPForms

12. Be Aware of Issues, but Don’t Sacrifice Innovation

AI and big data offer more opportunities than pose a threat. Yes, efficiencies eliminate old, unnecessary jobs. More importantly, though, they create new jobs! Generally, the jobs being eliminated are lower-paying and the ones being created are higher-paying. This is known as business evolution. Its important to be aware of potential issues but never at the cost of innovation and progress. Bill MulhollandARC Relocation

More From the Young Entrepreneur Council8 Strategic Approaches to Encouraging Employee Innovation

Expert Contributors

Built In’s expert contributor network publishes thoughtful, solutions-oriented stories written by innovative tech professionals. It is the tech industry’s definitive destination for sharing compelling, first-person accounts of problem-solving on the road to innovation.

Learn More

Great Companies Need Great People. That's Where We Come In.

Recruit With Us