AI – the need for transparency


Heather Claycomb sees huge benefits that will come with artificial intelligence adoption – but she believes it has muddied the waters of trust between businesses and their customers.

Heather Claycomb

Businesses face new challenges when building and maintaining trust in the ‘ChatGPT age’, Heather Claycomb says.

With the help of artificial intelligence, AI, businesses are streamlining operations, enhancing customer experiences, and even creating written and visual content that was once the sole domain of human creativity.

But people are nervous about the use of AI and distrustful of companies using it, Claycomb, a director of PR agency HMC, says.

The trust issue is tackled in the company’s latest podcast.

A global, 31-country survey by Ipsos in July found New Zealanders were more nervous about AI and more distrustful than their global counterparts.  It found only 43 per cent of New Zealanders trust companies that use AI will protect their personal data, and a similar percentage trusted companies that use AI as much as they trust other companies.

In the same study, 63 per cent of New Zealanders surveyed said products and services that use AI make them nervous – compared with a 52% global country average.

“Generative AI is relatively new – we are just days away from ChatGPT’s one-year launch anniversary,” Claycomb said..

“However, most people in our community have virtually no awareness or understanding of generative AI technologies. So, when they discover that a photographic image isn’t a real picture, or that an article was produced by a computer, not a person, it jars their mind. They can become distrustful very quickly.”

She says one key to maintaining trust when embracing the use of generative AI is full disclosure.

“Not only does this maintain business integrity, it also helps people acclimatise to the use of the technology.  As AI becomes normalised, it’s likely disclosure will no longer be necessary.  But it is for now,” she says.

With AI stirring up nervousness and suspicion, businesses must be purposeful to reap the benefits of trust.

“Creating a high-trust organisation is basically your license to operate. It gives you the power to take risks and recover quickly when you make mistakes.  Trust gives you a competitive advantage.  And high-trust organisations reap the rewards of loyal, hard-working staff,” says Heather.


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