Rex Bradley


Best AI Practices Start with an Internal AI Policy

Whether your business is already using AI tools, still thinking about it, or holding off on implementation for now, documenting a well-defined internal AI policy is crucial for ensuring the technology is (or isn’t) applied as you wish it to be.

Maintaining clear and firm AI governance also makes it easy for vendors and contractors (including your marketing agency) to ensure that all delivered work falls within your company’s policy. 

To better understand why an AI policy is so important, let’s touch on the key benefits of making AI rules and guidelines official.

Ensure AI use is ethical and responsible

The introduction of AI to a company’s workflow opens up the potential for unethical application of the technology, either inadvertently or with intent. Policy that identifies possible misuse and puts rules in place to prevent irresponsible application adds a human element to temper the non-human “thought” processes of Artificial Intelligence.

Common examples include infringement on privacy, plagiarism, untruth and issues with fairness or accountability.

Enhanced risk management and compliance

Implementing AI technologies comes with inherent risk. Aside from concerns with ethics, algorithms can be biased or simply make mistakes. Other potential risks include data breaches and other security vulnerabilities. By mitigating these risks, businesses can preserve their brand and reputation while also protecting against legal liability.

As AI tools become more prevalent, government regulations and standards will play a larger role in dictating their usage. Well-defined internal AI rules keep your business in compliance with both general and industry-specific requirements, particularly concerning data protection and privacy, and consumer rights.

Maintain the integrity of your data

Robust data governance practices ensure the quality, integrity and security of the data used by AI applications. Just like the old data adage goes, “garbage in, garbage out.” Making sure your AI is only fed good data goes a long way towards generating high-quality output.

Effective data governance builds trust with your customers and partners. At the bare minimum, your policy should cover:

  • Data collection
  • Data storage
  • Data processing
  • Practices and protocols for sharing

Improved transparency and accountability

Clear AI guidelines and protocols promote transparency in how AI systems are developed, deployed, and monitored within your organization. This transparency drives accountability, as both internal and external stakeholders will be better positioned to understand and scrutinize any decision-making process influenced by AI.

Your AI policy must delegate responsibility for final sign off, to avoid the scenario where everyone points fingers at the technology to escape owning up for the blame. Every AI error should be accountable to someone within your organization. Having these responsibilities well-defined and documented ensures that those who would be accountable will properly track and monitor AI results.

Simplify employee training

Educating employees on the ethical considerations, risks, and best practices associated with AI technologies is important for both new hires and your existing team. To streamline this process and ensure clear, consistent messaging across the board, you must first have an overarching AI policy in place.

Explicit AI training guidelines create a stronger sense of awareness surrounding AI technologies and better prepares employees for making informed decisions when working with AI systems. The better your staff understands the potential consequences of mishandling AI, the more your organization will foster a culture of responsible AI use.

AI and your marketing agency

Once your internal AI policy is solidified and in place, it is important to share these guidelines with any external organization that completes work on your behalf to ensure consistency. In particular, you will want to provide your marketing agency with explicit details regarding how and when they are permitted to leverage AI tools, and alternatively any specific scenarios where they are not.

An AI policy gives your business a competitive advantage

Developing a well-defined AI policy demonstrates your company’s commitment to responsible innovation, which can improve your brand image and give your business a competitive edge. As AI goes mainstream, customers, investors, and partners are placing greater emphasis on engaging with businesses with ethical and transparent AI practices in place.

Your AI policy doesn’t just help your business navigate the complexities of AI deployment, it also reinforces the value you place on AI governance.

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