AI, ethics, and the real-world impact: A conversation with Merav Yuravlivker

December 4, 2023

    AI, ethics, and the real-world impact with Merav Yuravliker

    The rapidly evolving world of Artificial Intelligence and data analytics holds tremendous promise for the future

    Yet it is fraught with challenges and ethical considerations. In this enlightening episode, Anna Frazzetto engaged with Merav Yuravlivker, co-founder and CEO of Data Society, a company at the forefront of this revolution.

    Listen to the full episode on Spotify below:

    The growth and evolution of data society

    One of the major shifts we've observed in recent years, is the transition from the belief that only certain individuals need to understand data to the recognition that everyone in the organisation should comprehend it. This shift ensures we all share a common data vocabulary, utilise our data more effectively, and empower every team member to perform their roles better, thereby offering enhanced support to stakeholders, constituents, and clients.

    Merav's journey with Data Society, a company recognised as one of the fastest-growing private enterprises, offers valuable insights into the evolving landscape of data analytics and AI.

    Starting in 2014, focusing on empowering tech-minded individuals, the company quickly identified the need for comprehensive data understanding across all organizational levels. This shift from a niche technical skillset to a universal organizational necessity exemplifies the democratization of data literacy.

    Merav emphasised the transformation of data from a specialised tool to a ubiquitous resource, essential for decision-making and stakeholder engagement across various industries.

    AI: Revolution or evolution?

    The current surge in AI represents both an evolution and a revolution in the technological landscape. The accessibility and advancements in generative AI have brought about change, similar to the early days of the internet. 

    One key example of this transformation is the role of social media managers. Just two decades ago, this role did not exist, as social media platforms were in their infancy. However, with the rise of AI and its integration into marketing strategies, social media management has become an integral part of businesses' online presence. Social media managers now play a crucial role in creating and maintaining brand identities, engaging with customers, and driving marketing campaigns.

    In addition to the emergence of new roles like social media managers, AI has also made certain job positions obsolete. As technology continues to advance, tasks that were once performed by humans are now automated through AI systems. 

    This evolution in job markets highlights the need for individuals to adapt and acquire new skills to remain relevant in the workforce. As AI becomes more prevalent, it is essential for professionals to embrace lifelong learning and upskill themselves to thrive in this landscape.

    AI's practical applications and challenges

    The conversation also touched on practical applications of AI, like in call centers, where AI-driven insights from experienced agents are assisting new employees. However, Merav was quick to point out that not every problem requires an AI solution. The indiscriminate use of AI, without questioning its necessity, can lead to inefficiencies and an unnecessary strain on resources. This approach ties into the broader theme of sustainable AI use, considering its environmental impact and the ethical implications of data usage.

    The ethical considerations of AI

    Data quantifies the world around us and its patterns. We must understand that AI is the first draft and not the final product. Making sure that we have a human layer at those critical steps to confirm, and double-check, to make sure that the output is accurate and achieves the goals that they're looking for without causing undue harm.This is the balance we have to strike with this type of technology.

    Perhaps one of the most critical aspects discussed was the ethical use of AI. Merav underscored the importance of recognising and mitigating the biases inherent in AI algorithms, which stem from historical and societal data patterns.

    She stressed the need for human oversight in AI decision-making processes, especially in scenarios where these decisions have significant consequences. The conversation also covered the responsibility of companies in establishing robust data governance frameworks and the importance of transparency in data usage and collection.

    The role of enquiry and responsiblity

    Merav left the audience with a powerful message: the importance of inquiry in the age of AI. She urged those working with AI to continually question data sources, collection methods, model applications, and the accountability structures in place. This continuous questioning is vital to ensure AI is used responsibly and effectively.

    Anna resonated with this sentiment, emphasising curiosity as a key to success in the technology sector. The discussion concluded with an optimistic outlook on the potential of AI to positively impact society, provided it is approached with a mindful and questioning attitude.

    Looking ahead: The future of AI and data analytics

    As we move forward into 2024 and beyond, the insights shared by Merav Yuravlivker highlight a crucial path for the future of AI and data analytics. It's a path marked by responsible innovation, ethical considerations, and a commitment to enhancing societal well-being. The conversation between Anna and Merav serves as a reminder of the transformative power of AI and the collective responsibility we share in shaping its trajectory for the greater good.

    In conclusion, the future of AI and data analytics is not just about technological advancements but also about the human values and ethical considerations that guide its application. As Merav succinctly put it, it's about asking the right questions and ensuring that our pursuit of innovation is aligned with our commitment to sustainability, equity, and ethical responsibility.

    As we navigate this exciting yet challenging landscape, these principles will be our guiding stars.

    Key takeaways

    • Democratisation of data literacy: There's been a significant shift from viewing data comprehension as a skill required only by specialised tech teams to recognizing its importance across all levels of an organisation. This change highlights the need for a common data vocabulary and effective data utilisation by everyone to enhance decision-making and support stakeholders more effectively.

    • Evolving role of AI: The surge in AI technology represents a major transition, comparable to the internet's early expansion. AI is not just evolving the tech industry but also transforming job markets, creating new roles while making others obsolete.

    • AI’s applications and limitations: AI has practical applications in various fields, like aiding new employees in call centers. However, it's important to assess the necessity of AI in each case, as its indiscriminate use can lead to inefficiencies and resource waste. There's a need for a balanced approach to AI deployment, considering its environmental impact and the ethical implications of data usage.

    • Ethical use of AI: Ethical considerations are paramount in AI development and deployment. AI algorithms often reflect societal biases present in historical data, necessitating human oversight in AI decision-making processes. Companies must establish robust data governance frameworks to ensure ethical AI use.

    • Importance of inquiry and responsibility in AI: For those working with AI, it's crucial to continually ask questions about data sources, collection methods, models used, and the accountability structures in place. This approach ensures responsible and effective AI usage.

    • Transparency and guidelines in AI and data use: The discussion highlighted the need for transparency in how data is used and collected. Establishing guidelines like GDPR in Europe and similar frameworks globally can help individuals and companies understand and control data usage, ensuring AI benefits society responsibly.

    Article and quotes have been edited for brevity and clarity

    This post was written by: Leanna Seah, Content Manager