Society won’t trust A.I. until business earns that trust

Article by François Candelon, Rodolphe Charme di Carlo and Steven D. Mills: “…The concept of a social license—which was born when the mining industry, and other resource extractors, faced opposition to projects worldwide—differs from the other rules governing A.I.’s use. Academics such as Leeora Black and John Morrison, in the book The Social License: How to Keep Your Organization Legitimate,define the social license as “the negotiation of equitable impacts and benefits in relation to its stakeholders over the near and longer term. It can range from the informal, such as an implicit contract, to the formal, like a community benefit agreement.” 

The social license isn’t a document like a government permit; it’s a form of acceptance that companies must gain through consistent and trustworthy behavior as well as stakeholder interactions. Thus, a social license for A.I. will be a socially constructed perception that a company has secured the right to use the technology for specific purposes in the markets in which it operates. 

Companies cannot award themselves social licenses; they will have to win them by proving they can be trusted. As Morrison argued in 2014, akin to the capability to dig a mine, the fact that an A.I.-powered solution is technologically feasible doesn’t mean that society will find its use morally and ethically acceptable. And losing the social license will have dire consequences, as natural resource companies, such as Shell and BP, have learned in the past…(More)”