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AI Ethics in the Workplace: How to Use AI Responsibly in Every Department

Balancing helpful innovations with employee well-being is the basis of responsible and ethical AI use.


The usage of AI in the workplace has grown exponentially in the past few years. In fact, research shows that now over 80% of organizations use it for workplace procedures in some capacity.

AI is being used in nearly every industry, streamlining tedious processes to boost productivity and improve business functions. Many fields also use AI technology to “look at” data in new ways, helping organizations problem-solve and innovate.

However, AI ethics is complex. Privacy and job security are ever-growing concerns as AI is more and more widely adopted. To protect the best interests of both their company and their employees, employers should know how they can use AI technology in the workplace and the ethical considerations that come with it.

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How Is AI Used in the Workplace?

Employers can use AI tools for a wide range of tasks. Knowing how the technology is used for each process can improve your understanding of potential AI ethics concerns.

 

Human Resources

Human resources professionals often wear many hats, so they don’t have time for tedious tasks. Use AI in your HR department to streamline:

  • Hiring and recruiting: screening resumes, scheduling interviews, communicating with applicants
  • Internal communications: answering questions about benefits or policies, translating calls between employees in different countries in real time
  • Onboarding and training: analyzing employee behavior and preferences to customize training
  • Employee retention: spotting indicators that an employee is about to quit
  • Career planning: analyzing tasks and courses taken to suggest skills to work on and education opportunities
  • Workplace investigations: summarizing employee misconduct cases for reporting and documentation

 

Marketing and Sales

For marketing and sales teams, AI makes data analytics faster and easier. Rather than combing through endless numbers, marketers can use tools like Dotdigital to answer questions about website performance, audience, and more. This gives them more time to devote to other tasks, saving employers time and money.

AI may also spot sales or web traffic patterns that human team members might miss. This technology can help marketers uncover a new target demographic or blog post format to focus on to boost sales.

 

Customer Service

Customer service departments can use AI to provide consistent communication 24/7. It also allows human employees to work on more complex cases while it handles simpler requests, such as “yes” or “no” questions and FAQs.

  • Conversation analysis to help train employees
  • Chatbots and messaging app bots
  • Automated inquiry triage
  • Customer activity analysis (on website or in-app) to spot signs that they’re experiencing issues

 

READ MORE: 5 Revolutionary Ways to Use AI for Customer Complaint Management

 

Fraud Detection

According to DataDome, “AI learns with historical data and can adjust its rules to stop [fraud] threats it may never have seen before—something standard fraud software cannot do. Because AI is dynamic, it also continuously works to reduce the number of false positives (genuine users being blocked) by improving the accuracy of its rules.”

The same sort of technology that financial institutions use to detect fraud can be used in the workplace. AI can spot indicators of both financial fraud and theft and cybersecurity risks to reduce your company’s risk of internal and external fraud.

 

Administrative Tasks

Finally, AI can be used to complete tedious, repetitive administrative tasks in the workplace. For example, planning a meeting time for a large group can be difficult. AI tools analyze each person’s schedule, find a date and time that works for all attendees, and arrange the meeting, all without employees communicating with each other.

One tool, Otter.AI, eliminates the need for another tedious task: taking meeting notes. Otter records conversations and transcribes them in real time, creating searchable, sharable notes to reference later. This ensures accurate transcriptions, plus it allows employees to focus better on their meeting or call.

 

READ MORE: Announcement: Introducing Case IQ Assistant

 

Is AI Ethical in the Workplace? Common Concerns

While AI can help make employees’ jobs easier and reduce risk for your organization, it also comes with ethical challenges. Employers should weigh the advantages of using ethical AI tools against the negative impact they may have on employees.

 

Privacy

Privacy is arguably one of the biggest AI ethics concerns. Many companies use AI tools to track employee behavior, but employers should know where to draw the line between being helpful and invading employees’ privacy.

For example, a company may require its employees to wear a smart watch to track heart rates, using AI to analyze this data to spot employees who are too stressed. However, if they then use the devices’ location data to track where employees are in the office at all times, it becomes an invasion of privacy.

Data privacy is also a common concern, especially when using AI to analyze sensitive information like medical and personal details. That’s why employers should check the features of an AI tool before using it.

Case IQ’s new AI-powered Assistant lets teams conduct thorough, effective workplace investigations while protecting data privacy. Here’s how:

  • Storing and handling case data on Microsoft Azure infrastructure
  • Applying access controls to each case and piece of information
  • Built-in data privacy compliance as required by HIPAA, GDPR, CCPA, and more
  • Audit trails on each case to show who accessed the data, actions they took, and when
  • Data anonymization

 

READ MORE: AI for Workplace Investigations: The Basics You Need to Know in 2024

 

Job Security

AI can complete tasks more efficiently than most humans. It can work 24 hours a day with no time off. It works consistently without slumps in productivity due to mood or fatigue level. For these reasons, some employers might use it to replace some human employees. However, experts suggest that organizations use AI tools and human employees together to achieve the best business results.

Humans need to perform three crucial roles. They must train machines to perform certain tasks; explain the outcomes of those tasks, especially when the results are counterintuitive or controversial; and sustain the responsible use of machines (by, for example, preventing robots from harming humans)” say H. James Wilson and Paul R. Daugherty in the Harvard Business Review.

Case IQ agrees. The Case IQ Assistant pulls case data into a complete, easy-to-read case summary with just a few clicks. But, ultimately, it’s up to the human investigator to edit and finalize the investigation report.

“You, as a human, are able to review [the report], edit it, insert information, delete information, basically review the accuracy of it, and that’s important,” explains Errol Apostolopoulos, SVP Product at Case IQ. AI tools aren’t perfect but provide good drafts to speed up and streamline many workplace needs.

When humans and AI work together, you reduce legal and compliance risk while also improving efficiency and consistency.

 

When AI is the More Ethical Choice

In some cases, says Bret Greenstein, SVP and Global Head of AI & Analytics at Cognizant, using AI in place of human workers is actually more ethical.

For example, turning physically dangerous jobs such as logging, roofing, and even aviation over to AI could save thousands of lives per year. “AI, which can program machines to not only perform repetitive tasks but also to increasingly emulate human responses to changes in surroundings and react accordingly, is the ideal tool for saving lives,” he explains. “And it is unethical to continue to send humans into harm’s way once such technology is available.”

Greenstein also believes that AI must be used in healthcare. “If AI can prove to be better at finding dangerous illnesses in patients than humans (and at a lower cost and higher efficiency), it is morally indefensible to not commit the full resources of the health care industry toward building and applying that technology to save lives.”

In short, the most ethical AI use in the workplace is when it puts people’s best interests first, whether that’s employees or the public.

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AI ethics are just one part of an ethical workplace culture

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How Case IQ Can Help

Case IQ’s modern case management software streamlines your workplace investigations, so you can receive reports and track, manage, and report on incidents all on one secure, centralized platform. Our innovative workflow tools ensure your investigations are efficient, effective, thorough, and compliant. Learn how Case IQ can help you mitigate risk and improve your investigations here.