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Deloitte poll shows ethics frameworks lagging behind as AI use in risk management increases

Nearly half (48.5%) of C-suite and other executives at organisations that use artificial intelligence (AI) expect to increase AI use for risk management and compliance efforts in the year ahead, according to a recent Deloitte poll. Yet, only 21.1% of respondents report that their organisations have an ethical framework in place for AI use within risk management and compliance programmes.

"As many organisations are still learning how best to adopt and leverage AI capabilities, it’s not surprising that ethical frameworks are often missing from the ‘trustworthy AI’ equation," said Irfan Saif, Deloitte Risk & Financial Advisory principal and Deloitte AI leader, Deloitte & Touche. "To better scale AI governance over time and to better reduce algorithm bias, leading organisations are approaching AI ethics proactively by embedding ethical frameworks into all AI efforts as a matter of practice."

While AI ethics frameworks for risk management and compliance may be few, there is a silver lining: Companies are more likely than not to involve top leaders in developing ethical AI practices. More than half of respondents (53.5%) indicated that AI ethics responsibilities are established including the C-suite. Just one-fifth (19%) indicate the C-suite in their organisations have no AI ethics responsibilities.

"C-suite and board executives need to ask questions early and often about ethical use of technology and data - inclusive of and beyond AI - to mitigate unintended and unethical consequences," commented Maureen Mohlenkamp, Deloitte Risk & Financial Advisory principal specialising in ethics and compliance services, Deloitte & Touche. "As data and technology uses evolve, tying efforts directly to organisational mission statements and corporate conduct policies can help organisations ensure that future advancements start with a strong ethical foundation. Further, a board-level data committee should be established to discuss enterprise-wide AI use, monitoring and modelling with appropriate C-suite leaders."


More than 565 C-suite and other executives working at organisations using AI were polled online during a Deloitte webcast, titled 'AI ethics: An emerging imperative for the board and C-suite', on 4 September 2019. Answer rates differed by question.

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