Responsible AI: Finding the Promise; Avoiding the Unintended Consequences — In conversation with Angela Mangiapane

Point of View
4 min readMar 19, 2024
Image by Freepik

“Artificial intelligence,” or AI, is not a new phenomenon, but over the past year, it’s reached a new inflection point. What’s causing all the buzz?

We posed the question to Angela Mangiapane, a future-focused, human-centric business leader who’s at the forefront of digital innovation.

Angela, what is your observation of the rapid rise of AI — and its accelerating role in our businesses and our lives?

At the end of January 2022, when my home team, the Philadelphia Eagles, lost the Superbowl, a colleague sent me a poem he wrote about the loss. I learned later that it was composed entirely by the AI chatbot ChatGPT. At that moment I realized just how pervasive AI had become. Suddenly, everywhere I turned, AI dominated the conversation — from artists wondering about its effect on the value of their work to businesses questioning how much to open AI platforms to their employees. The rapid rate at which these discussions have emerged has us all talking about the exciting possibilities of AI but also the potential watch-outs.

When we talk about AI tools, we have two terms to consider: machine learning, or “traditional AI,” and the rapidly developing “generative AI” (GenAI). The difference between the two is in what they can do and how they’re applied.

Traditional AI tools — for example, Google’s search engine and voice assistants like Siri and Alexa — follow specific rules. They can analyze data, make predictions, and perform precise tasks intelligently. GenAI takes these functions a step further by creating something new from whatever information we give it. A prime example of GenAI is GPT-4, the more advanced version of ChatGPT from OpenAI. The tool can instantly produce original content — text outputs, music, images and even computer code. The field continues to evolve at a pace unprecedented and will have an increasingly profound impact on businesses, employees, consumers, and society at large.

How far along is AI on its journey forward?

It’s been said that AI today is like a confident toddler. Translation: it’s often confidently inaccurate. If we put a question into ChatGPT, it may provide a strange response. Interacting effectively with the program requires an understanding of how to best format questions to receive the most precise and relevant answer. As we continue to be more exacting with our questions, and as more people feed into the program, generative chatbots are expected to use the data to consistently improve its responses.

Yet like a toddler, AI will need guidance, correction, and patience to help it evolve and mature. And like a good parent, regulators — at the government and company board levels — will need to put in place guardrails that enable AI to grow reliably without introducing too many bureaucratic processes that constrain its full potential.

What ethical dilemmas does AI present? How can we meet the challenges?

Complex AI algorithms often operate like “black boxes,” producing results without clear and accessible explanations of how conclusions were reached. This lack of transparency can expose organizations to vulnerabilities and risks in decision-making.

We owe our customers, employees, and society at large clarity on how we should or shouldn’t use this technology. Business leaders need to frame conversations about data privacy and security risks, and we must remain committed to retraining the workforce with new skills to embrace the opportunities AI can unlock.

Today, more than ever, the complexities we’re navigating require our focus on new and creative solutions. The old playbook may no longer be valid. AI can be part of the new one as we leverage its potential to improve our lives — and unlock the creative solutions we need in the world today.

Thank you, Angela, for sharing your insights with us.

A values-driven and human-centric leader, Angela Mangiapane brings to business and board service a creative transformation perspective — at the intersection of financial progress, social good, and human capital investment. She has held, and continues to serve in, a variety of leadership roles throughout her career and is currently channeling her expertise into board service. Angela is chair of EoM Solutions, the consulting arm of the nonprofit EoM Foundation, devoted to transforming the economic system by creating a mutuality of benefits among all stakeholders. She also serves as co-chair of the Conference Board, a global nonprofit “think tank,” as well as on the advisory board of SSON, a professional networking group for high-level professionals.

Connect with Angela Mangiapane on LinkedIn.

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