‘Firms that act responsibly will benefit most from AI’, says expert lawyer

As more leaders consider how AI and technology could be used in their business, expert lawyer Ben Travers cautions that consumers will want to see that businesses are acting responsibly. 


When it comes to Artificial Intelligence and emerging technologies, there are two key questions which keep coming up: does the technology enable us to push boundaries and, if so, should we?  There is a growing concern about the ethical and reputation risks around the adoption of AI.

That’s the message that I’ve increasingly been hearing, and delivering, in conversations with business leaders at the cutting edge of the clamour to harness the benefits of AI and the deluge of new technologies that continue to emerge. 

It’s also the message I’ll be delivering at the inaugural Business of Yorkshire conference in Leeds next month. 

I’ll be joined by colleagues from Knights’ offices across Yorkshire and the north of England. All of whom provide regular counsel to business owners and senior executives.

Introducing AI into the workplace is often seen as a tech issue. But, in reality, it’s much bigger than that. 

There are considerations that are far-reaching across the entire organisation.

Whether it’s the obvious, myriad HR issues such as a risk of bias and discrimination in recruitment, promotion or data-screening processes, to the possibility of job losses or structural change. 

Or risks relating to data protection, intellectual property or procurement. 

Ultimately AI is a tool, like any other. And it should be treated as such. Its roll-out should be handled in the same way as the introduction of any other technology, with a sensitivity to the misgivings employees may have.

Something that many businesses are now finding out is that they’ll be judged by their actions. And customers, consumers and clients may well vote with their feet.

They want to see that businesses are acting responsibly – whether that’s their use of personal data or how they target the advertisement of products.

In the long-run, a brand’s reputation will rest on the ethics and leadership behind its use of emerging technologies.

So it makes sense for business to put consumer trust at the heart of every decision they make when considering the introduction of AI.

For more details about the Business of Yorkshire Conference on 2 November, visit: https://www.businessofyorkshire.com/