HR's role in ensuring accountability with the ethical use of AI

The rapid acceleration of AI use within organizations presents as many concerns as it does opportunities. Many HR leaders are anxious about the ethics of AI use, from systemic bias to data privacy. Does this anxiety translate to accountability for the ethical use of AI…
HR Grapevine
HR Grapevine | Executive Grapevine International Ltd
HR's role in ensuring accountability with the ethical use of AI

2023 saw the rapid acceleration of AI adoption across nearly every job function, organisation, and industry. HR, of course, is no exception and has seen an explosion of software products that are built entirely on AI or AI-enabled add-ons to legacy software.

But with all this promise comes valid concerns about AI ethics, especially given the pace of adoption. Large tech companies including Microsoft, Twitter, and Meta all laid off small AI ethics teams in 2023, and a 2023 study from Stanford’s Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence, drawing on research from 25 AI ethics practitioners, discovered such practitioners lack institutional support and are siloed off from other teams within their organisations.

From systemic bias to data privacy, HR has a duty of care to protect employees from unethical AI practices. However, all members of the C-Suite, in particular CIOs and other technology leaders, are involved in the acquisition or development of AI technology and its use by employees. With this in mind, how far does HR’s accountability extend?

AI in HR: The good, the bad, and the ugly

Research from Gartner (2023) finds that 76% of HR leaders believe that they will be lagging if their organisation does not adopt and implement AI solutions in the next 12 to 24 months.

Indeed, according to a 2023 Zippia study, 99% of Fortune 500 companies are already incorporating AI practices. McDonald’s, for example, achieved a 60% drop in time-to-hire thanks to an AI-enabled recruitment chatbot.

AI can also help automate many of the manual processes that limit the amount of time HR professionals can spend on strategic initiatives, as well as aiding data-driven decision-making on anything from matching mentees with mentors to workforce planning.

A Capterra survey early in 2023 found that 98% planned to use algorithms and software to make labor-cost reduction decisions in 2023.

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