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Responsible AI will give you a competitive advantage

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There is little doubt that AI is changing the business landscape and providing competitive advantages to  those that embrace it. It is time, however, to move beyond the simple implementation of AI and to ensure that AI is being done in a safe and ethical manner. This is called responsible AI and will serve not only as a protection against negative consequences, but also as a competitive advantage in and of itself.

What is responsible AI?

Responsible AI is a governance framework that covers ethical, legal, safety, privacy, and accountability  concerns. Although the implementation of responsible AI varies by company, the necessity of it is clear. Without responsible AI practices in place, a company is exposed to serious financial, reputational, and  legal risks. On the positive side, responsible AI practices are becoming prerequisites to even bidding on certain contracts, especially when governments are involved; a well-executed strategy will greatly help in winning those bids. Additionally, embracing responsible AI can contribute to a reputational gain to the company overall.

Values by design

Much of the problem implementing responsible AI comes down to foresight. This foresight is the ability  to predict what ethical or legal issues an AI system could have during its development and deployment  lifecycle. Right now, most of the responsible AI considerations happen after an AI product is  developed — a very ineffective way to implement AI. If you want to protect your company from financial,  legal, and reputational risk, you have to start projects with responsible AI in mind. Your company needs  to have values by design, not by whatever you happen to end up with at the end of a project.

Implementing values by design

Responsible AI covers a large number of values that need to be prioritized by company leadership. While  covering all areas is important in any responsible AI plan, the amount of effort your company expends in  each value is up to company leaders. There has to be a balance between checking for responsible AI  and actually implementing AI. If you expend too much effort on responsible AI, your effectiveness may  suffer. On the other hand, ignoring responsible AI is being reckless with company resources. The best  way to combat this trade off is starting off with a thorough analysis at the onset of the project, and not  as an after-the-fact effort.

Best practice is to establish a responsible AI committee to review your AI projects before they  start, periodically during the projects, and upon completion. The purpose of this committee is to evaluate the project against responsible AI values and approve, disapprove, or disapprove with actions to bring the project in compliance. This can include requesting more information be obtained or things that need to be changed fundamentally. Like an Institutional Review Board that is used to monitor ethics in biomedical research, this committee should contain both experts in AI and non-technical  members. The non-technical members can come from any background and serve as a reality check on the AI experts. AI experts, on the other hand, may better understand the difficulties and remediations possible but can become too used to institutional and industry norms that may not be sensitive enough  to concerns of the greater community. This committee should be convened at the onset of the project,  periodically during the project, and at the end of the project for final approval.

What values should the Responsible AI Committee consider?

Values to focus on should be considered by the business to fit within its overall mission statement.  Your business will likely choose specific values to emphasize, but all major areas of concern should be  covered. There are many frameworks you can choose to use for inspiration such as Google’s and Facebook’s. For this article, however, we will  be basing the discussion on the recommendations set forth by the High-Level Expert Group on Artificial  Intelligence Set Up by The European Commission in The Assessment List for Trustworthy Artificial  Intelligence. These recommendations include seven areas. We will explore each area and suggest  questions to be asked regarding each area.

1. Human agency and oversight

AI projects should respect human agency and decision making. This principle involves how the AI  project will influence or support humans in the decision making process. It also involves how the  subjects of AI will be made aware of the AI and put trust in its outcomes. Some questions that need to  be asked include:

  • Are users made aware that a decision or outcome is the result of an AI project?
  • Is there any detection and response mechanism to monitor adverse effects of the AI project?

2. Technical robustness and safety

Technical robustness and safety require that AI projects preemptively address concerns around risks associated with the AI performing unreliably and minimize the impact of such. The results of the AI project should include the ability of the AI to perform predictably and consistently, and it should cover the need of the AI to be protected from cybersecurity concerns. Some questions that need to be asked  include:

  • Has the AI system been tested by cybersecurity experts?
  • Is there a monitoring process to measure and access risks associated with the AI project?

3. Privacy and data governance

AI should protect individual and group privacy, both in its inputs and its outputs. The algorithm should not include data that was gathered in a way that violates privacy, and it should not give results that violate the privacy of the subjects, even when bad actors are trying to force such errors. In order to do this effectively, data governance must also be a concern. Appropriate questions to ask include:

  • Does any of the training or inference data use protected personal data?
  • Can the results of this AI project be crossed with external data in a way that would violate an  individual’s privacy?

4. Transparency

Transparency covers concerns about traceability in individual results and overall explainability of AI algorithms. The traceability allows the user to understand why an individual decision was made.  Explainability refers to the user being able to understand the basics of the algorithm that was used to  make the decision. It also refers to the ability of the user to understand what factors where involved in  the decision making process for their specific prediction. Questions to ask are:

  • Do you monitor and record the quality of the input data?
  • Can a user receive feedback as to how a certain decision was made and what they could do to  change that decision?

5. Diversity, non-discrimination

In order to be considered responsible AI, the AI project must work for all subgroups of people as well as possible. While AI bias can rarely be eliminated entirely, it can be effectively managed. This mitigation can take place during the data collection process — to include a more diverse background of people in the training dataset — and can also be used at inference time to help balance accuracy between different  groupings of people. Common questions include:

  • Did you balance your training dataset as much as possible to include various subgroups of people?
  • Do you define fairness and then quantitatively evaluate the results?

6. Societal and environmental well-being

An AI project should be evaluated in terms of its impact on the subjects and users along with its impact on the environment. Social norms such as democratic decision making, upholding values, and preventing addiction to AI projects should be upheld. Furthermore the results of the decisions of the AI project on the environment should be considered where applicable.  One factor applicable in nearly all cases is an evaluation of the amount of energy needed to train the required models. Questions that can be asked:

  • Did you assess the project’s impact on its users and subjects as well as other stakeholders?
  • How much energy is required to train the model and how much does that contribute to carbon emissions?

7. Accountability

Some person or organization needs to be responsible for the actions and decisions made by the AI  project or encountered during development. There should be a system to ensure adequate possibility of  redress in cases where detrimental decisions are made. There should also be some time and attention paid to risk management and mitigation. Appropriate questions include:

  • Can the AI system be audited by third parties for risk?
  • What are the major risks associated with the AI project and how can they be mitigated?

The bottom line

The seven values of responsible AI outlined above provide a starting point for an organization’s responsible AI initiative. Organizations who choose that pursue responsible AI will find they increasingly have access to more opportunities — such as bidding on government contracts. Organizations that don’t implement these practices expose themselves to legal, ethical, and reputational risks.

David Ellison is Senior AI Data Scientist at Lenovo.

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Dune: Awakening is an open world survival MMO

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Dune: Awakening made its debut at The Game Awards as an open world survival massively multiplayer online game.

The game from Funcom and Nukklear looks beautiful, full of very detailed imagery of the desert planet Arrakis, also known as Dune. The game asked for beta signups, but we got no other information. Survival is the key word. Dune is a very deadly world, with sandworms and an unforgiving climate.

You can see places in the trailer like the city of Arakeen by day and night, as well as desert biomes and more. It’s not clear when it is coming. With luck, it will be close to the second Dune movie coming in late 2023.

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Rumors confirmed, Street Fighter 6 kicks off in June 2023

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Fighting Game fans are excited now that Capcom announced that Street Fighter 6 is coming to PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S and PC on June 2, 2023. The game was initially announced in February 2022, but that reveal did not include a specific release date beyond 2023.

The trailer at The Game Awards focused on new mini games and the international setting. In addition to the 18 previously announced fighter, the trailer also confirms that several new fighters — Dee Jay, Manon, Marisa and JP — that will join the game’s roster.

Notably, the June 2 release date for Street Fighter 6 may be a strategic choice for Capcom. June is the very beginning of Q3.

The last installment of the franchise — Street Fighter V — released nearly seven years ago so fans have been eager for another installment. A day before The Game Awards, the game’s June release date was leaked via the PlayStation Store.

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5 Things to Do Now to Propel Your Business in 2023

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Entrepreneurship is a daily leap of faith. In times of economic uncertainty, that leap may feel like a dive off a cliff. We are in one of those times. It likely will take months to fully re-adjust to the forces that have pummeled the world’s economy, and to entrepreneurs, months can feel like years.

With the right playbook, entrepreneurs can survive and thrive in whatever economic scenario. Here are five things you can do to propel your business ahead now and through the difficulties of business cycles for years to come.

1. Learn the lessons of more challenging times

A rocky economy presents a unique opportunity to make tough decisions about the business plan. Everything is open to reexamination. How has the market changed? Are your customers facing challenges that create new opportunities for your solutions? How do new conditions change your assumptions, and what actions do you need to take in response?

Critically evaluate your product roadmap. Is this the time to pivot or become more aggressive with your current plans? Prioritize the highest margin features that are achievable in the next twelve months. Push out projects that don’t make that list, and re-assign resources accordingly. Re-assess pricing. Even as inflation tiptoes back from the highest levels in forty years, raw material and transportation costs remain way up. What will impact your customers if you adjust the pricing or add surcharges to offset these costs, at least temporarily?

It’s been a rough year for hiring. Many companies took the talent they could get. If there are employees or gig workers who would fare better in a different job, now is the time to let them go. Make tough-minded corrections that will pay off overall — corrections that might be avoidable in less challenging times.

Related: How to Turn Inflation and Recession into Your Largest Business Opportunity

2. Tighten your grip on cash

Venture capitalists are pulling back. In the third quarter, Crunchbase reported that funding for startups in U.S. and Canada fell 50% year-over-year. Valuations are down across the board. If you are fortunate enough to be a later-stage startup that benefited from VC largess in 2021, make your last raise last longer than intended.

Keep your dry powder dry, and put off going for another round until the markets even out. Reemphasize the basics for early-stage companies with less market validation and greater distance between now and a potential exit. Delay all capital expenditures. Leverage the hybrid work model if possible, to reduce rent and other office expenses. Continue with Zoom or Google Meet. Now is not the time to rack up travel costs. Re-negotiate fees and terms with service providers. Seek credit terms with key suppliers, in a word, bootstrap.

3. Talk to customers, in person. Now.

How have the business needs of your customers — whether paying or beta — changed over the last 18 months? Are there benefits to your solution that have more recognized value now? Nearly every business, for example, from corporates to startups, has been forced to re-learn the lessons of supply chain management. Startups that can help their customers make better business decisions based on artificial intelligence (AI), reduce costs by improving inventory management or protect against out-of-stock scenarios by identifying and building relationships with new, more local sources of supply will have an edge.

Related: Finding Validation in Serving Customers

4. Non-dilutive capital

According to PitchBook, venture capitalists are showing greater interest in portfolio companies “whose satellite, robotics and software tools can do double duty” in military and commercial markets. International conflicts are one reason, of course.

Another is that the defense and military security industries are generally viewed as recession-proof. Our firm routinely encourages portfolio companies to consider non-dilutive funding from the Small Business Administration — grants to support cutting-edge technologies range from $150,000 to more than $1 million.

Navigating the application process isn’t for the faint of heart. A startup must be realistic about the work involved, but in many states, there are resources to help. Besides the funding, severe responses to agency requests for proposals are reviewed and evaluated by technologists. At a minimum, this can be terrific feedback and a great source of industry contacts.

5. Blue-chip cultures attract blue-chip talent

Company culture can be an asset or a liability. An inclusive, rich culture helps key hires say yes. Finding stakeholders that believe what you believe and are aligned with your team’s values significantly improves the odds that they will stick with you in good times or bad.

After months of “great resignation” fever, the over-heated demand for talent may be cooling off. Maybe offers aren’t as fast or grand as they were a year ago. Maybe Twitter won’t be the only advanced technology business to let people go. Regardless, the search for great talent isn’t a faucet that a young company turns off and on. A startup might modulate the timing or the number of hires but stand at the ready to recruit and filter for culture fit.

Related: 3 Ways to Stay Competitive in the War for Talent

With the right mindset and intentional approach, an entrepreneur can make 2023 a year to strive and thrive. As Yogi Berra, my favorite baseball player of all time, said, “Swing at the strikes.” In business, like baseball, the right swing can turn even the most challenging pitch into a hit.

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