Thriving in Tomorrow's AI Landscape: Balancing Innovation with a Privacy-Centric Approach

Companies that prioritize privacy as a foundational principle of AI will safeguard consumers while enabling sustainable AI growth, writes LiveRamp VP of Product Matt Karasick.

4 Min Read
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The generative AI landscape is booming, with companies eager to harness its efficiency, innovation, and growth potential. According to a 2023 McKinsey Global Survey, nearly 25% of C-suite executives report using some form of generative AI at work, while 40% have plans to increase their AI investments. Businesses are only just scratching the surface of what this technology can achieve, but looming federal AI legislation has the potential to upend the progress enterprises have made.  It is the companies that balance their excitement with a commitment to responsible data ethics that will see generative AI pay dividends.

By integrating foundational privacy principles into AI development, companies can ensure compliance with ever-evolving regulations, establish stronger customer relationships founded on trust, and secure a coveted leadership position in the AI era.

Ethical AI in an Evolving Regulatory Landscape

Regulations are coming. The U.S. government is creating standards for consumer privacy and AI adoption, but state-level rules on AI are still pending. The law passed by the EU in March 2024 is the first comprehensive regulatory framework outlining requirements for the safe development and use of AI systems.

As AI legislation in the U.S. gets increasing attention, consumers are demanding better privacy standards for their personal information. For example, they should have the right to choose whether their data is used in AI programs and marketing initiatives. They should be able to opt out without being misled or facing any negative consequences. If they do decide to share their data, they should be clearly informed about the value exchange. By being transparent with customers, brands can build trust and loyalty for their products and services, even as they experiment with AI and other technologies.

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The good news is that a privacy-centric approach is ethically sound and strategically advantageous. Prioritizing transparency in your interactions with customers builds a bond of trust, encouraging them to remain loyal to your brand and return, even as you venture into new AI initiatives.

Boost Transparency and Collaboration with a Privacy-by-Design Approach

Earning trust is crucial when using customer data in AI programs. Transparency is vital to achieving this. Companies should be clear and upfront about the purpose behind data usage and analysis.

Additionally, providing easy-to-find options for opting out of data sharing demonstrates respect for user privacy. It is also essential to clearly communicate the value exchange a consumer receives in return for sharing their data. This could involve explaining how the data will be used to personalize customer experiences or lead to loyalty discounts. By fostering this transparent environment, companies build trust and encourage continued engagement with their brand.

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To incorporate a privacy-by-design approach into their operations, businesses should implement a cross-functional process for assessing, handling, and ethically utilizing data. This approach necessitates collaboration between privacy teams, IT, product development, engineering, legal, and any other departments involved in handling consumer data. 

For example, since IT administers the fundamental data infrastructure supporting business operations, all stakeholders involved in data interactions must work together.

Transformation and Innovation

Companies need access to accurate, relevant, ethically sourced data for sustainable AI development. When AI is used ethically in combination with data collaboration, companies can unlock new efficiencies and use cases that drive better business outcomes. Simply put, data collaboration utilizes technology to integrate and analyze datasets within a company or with partners. AI serves as a critical component in enhancing data collaboration tools like clean rooms, streamlining the process of uncovering valuable insights concealed within charts, graphs, and dashboards. With the ability to safely connect more data, enterprises can uncover untapped customer insights, hidden patterns in data, and create efficiencies across the enterprise. 

By working together with AI, businesses gain a deeper understanding of customer behavior, leading to innovation and a win-win situation for all. Furthermore, responsibly sourced data from various partners allows companies to train powerful, company-specific AI models. This streamlines data management and model training for AI/ML teams to make faster data-driven decisions that transform operations and customer experiences.

The emergence of generative AI has created a pressing need for companies to review and improve consumer privacy when developing and implementing their AI programs. By incorporating essential privacy principles into any AI program from the outset, companies will be better equipped to adapt to future regulations, enhance the value of their AI, and establish stronger connections with consumers. 

Failing to prioritize privacy will lead to future regulatory challenges and harm consumer trust. Companies that prioritize privacy as a foundational principle of AI will establish themselves as leaders in the constantly evolving field of AI and data ethics.

About the author:

Matt Karasick is Vice President of Product at LiveRamp.

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