Leading AI implementation in a modern company.

AI — Ethical Premortem

Dave Kinnear1-On Leadership, 3-LI, Blog

I’m guessing that several of you who read my blog and listen to this podcast have been wondering when I’d get around to discussing the latest leadership and business disruption—meaning Artificial Intelligence (AI). Well, here it is!

Hi, I’m Dave Kinnear, your Executive Leadership Coach and host of the Leadership Insight Podcast. Thank you for listening to this episode on AI.

In January of this year, I began exploring ChatGPT in earnest. I found it fascinating. A month later, I started using the text-to-image generator Dall-E. I found it even more interesting than ChatGPT from the machine learning perspective. Then a colleague introduced me to the MidJourney image generator. It is mind-blowing.

Since March, there has been hardly any conversation with business leaders, colleagues, or friends that hasn’t included some element of AI and how it affects their teams. Together, we discovered that our employees are using AI whether we want them to or not. I found it interesting that some IT employees are surreptitiously using AI to assist them with coding and not letting their managers know about it. They are concerned that their managers will replace them with ChatGPT!

As leaders, we must get on top of, if not in front of, this AI tsunami. Specifically, we must engage our teams in an AI Ethical Premortem. For those unfamiliar with the term, a premortem is brainstorming as many potential things that could go right or wrong BEFORE implementing a change. In the case of AI, I am suggesting that we think of all the ways AI could be misused in addition to all the benefits we anticipate. And again, we do this BEFORE implementation.

To help me think about this, I asked Chat GPT-4, “What are some major issues in deploying AI in organizations?” It responded with 10 major issues that organizations face when deploying AI: 1-Data Privacy and Security, 2-Data Quality and Quantity, 3-Lack of Understanding and Expertise, 4-Lack of Clear Strategy, 5-Integration with Existing Systems, 6-Ethical Considerations, 7-Explainability and Transparency, 8-Regulatory Uncertainty, 9-Resistance to Change, and 10-Cost.

I then asked ChatGPT to “Say more about the ethical considerations.” The response was 7 key ethical considerations: 1-Bias, 2-Fairness, 3-Transparency, 4-Privacy, 5-Autonomy, 6-Use and Misuse, and 7-Job Displacement.

In the interest of time, I have listed only ChatGPT’s topics. For each topic, there were several sentences of explanation. I encourage you to run the same prompts through ChatGPT-4 and read the full responses. All of this is to say that we should not let AI infiltrate our organizations without a strategy for its use and maintenance. We cannot stop its use, so we must ensure that AI supports our culture and values.

On the other hand, we can not take too much time in the planning stages. Our competition may be ahead of us already, and our organizations, large or small, will be at a distinct disadvantage if we do not move quickly. AI is advancing at exponential speed. We do not have time for analysis paralysis. We can educate ourselves and our teams on AI and integrate it into our world, or we can choose to dally and be disrupted by an innovative startup or our forward-thinking competitors.

Once again, thank you for listening. I’m Dave Kinnear, Executive Leadership Coach, and I look forward to seeing you on our next episode of the Leadership Insight Podcast.