Deloitte’s AI partner Kellie Nuttall on data, transparency and gender bias

Kellie Nuttall, AI Partner, Deloitte. Picture - Lyndon Mechielsen

“AI can be a force for good”

Artificial Intelligence could help to address gender bias, rather than perpetuate it if it is well designed, according to Deloitte AI partner, Dr. Kellie Nuttall. 

Nuttall told Mediaweek that contrary to criticisms that AI will perpetuate society’s gender bias, there is great potential for it to help overcome this. 

AI can be a force for good as organisations seek to address pervasive and persistent gender bias,” said Nuttall. 

One of the greatest factors impacting the “stickiness” surrounding gender inequality, particularly in the workplace, are the consciously and unconsciously harboured biases that are geared towards women and other gender minorities.

“Poorly designed and governed AI will perpetuate these biases,” Nuttall warned. “However, AI that is well designed with ethical decisioning at its core can systematically mitigate and compensate for these social prejudices.”

The strategy and business design head, and leader of Deloitte Australia’s AI institute, described the tech as “an extension of an operations” and as such an business’ AI must be trained to uphold its ethical position, and that at a minimum, AI must adhere to human rights law against discrimination because of their sex, gender, sexual orientation or relationship status.

See Also: Diversity Council Australia warns AI tools could “negatively impact” industry attempts to address diversity

“Many organisations are not just looking to meet basic legal requirement, and instead are actively seeking to implement a policy of uplifting diversity and gender representation within their workforce and senior leadership,” said Nuttall.

“AI can help achieve these goals,” she added.

As AI becomes more deeply integrated into the internal structure and overall output of businesses in increasingly intrinsic and advanced ways, such discussions around transparent governance are paramount.

Another critical conversation revolves around transparency with customer data governance in marketing.

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“We have to be quite realistic that AI can be incredibly helpful for us as customers in terms of really personalised, targeted value added things, but there’s a value exchange to do that,” said Nuttall.

“Transparency around how you want to use data to deliver a better customer experience [and] a better customer product, offering things like that, is relevant to customers.”

For example, Nuttall pointed to common apprehensions attached to recent developments like computer vision, the science of training AI to mimic human vision that enables it to comprehend and analyse the world around it. 

“AI is actually helping keep your prices low. Is that something that you value? You’ve got a choice. [It’s] either going to be there to detect fraud, or your prices go up; there’s a trade off,” she noted, questioning, “What’s the value for you in that equation?”

“It’s the education part that is so important with this,” stressed Nuttall.

She reminds marketers, “no one complains about AI when it’s blocking your spam, but still it remains pivotal that businesses be realistic and transparent both with their customer base and the wider public. This includes how they are using AI to deliver better outcomes for customers, and circling back, how they plan to use AI to positively (or at very least, neutrally) impact the world for everyone.

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Top Image: Kellie Nutall

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