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Data Ethics

What is data ethics?

Data ethics is a branch of ethics that evaluates data practices—collecting, generating, analyzing and disseminating data, both structured and unstructured—that have the potential to adversely impact people and society. It includes addressing and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct, with transparency in and defensibility of actions and decisions driven by automated/artificial intelligence (AI) in relation to data in general and personal data in particular.

What are the business benefits of data ethics?

With AI algorithms becoming more commonplace, and without regulated codes of ethics, businesses need to create and maintain a structured and transparent data ethics strategy, which can yield three important business benefits:

  • Trust. Businesses that apply the key ethics principles of fairness, privacy, transparency and accountability to their AI models and output can retain trust in how they use their data—and thus build greater goodwill and loyalty, which enhances their reputation and brand value. 
  • Fair practices. Unintended bias can creep in from anywhere and negatively impact business decisions. Companies that adhere to data ethics principles and standards can demonstrate their fairness in decision-making. 
  • Data privacy compliance. Existing data privacy regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) do not directly address ethics, but there is a significant overlap between key privacy requirements, such as lawfulness and accountability, and the principles of AI ethics. Thus, ensuring ethical AI helps ensure data privacy compliance.

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