The Prompt, Ep 7 — Why Companies Need AI Ethics Committees (and How to Start One)

The Prompt: A Podcast For All Things AI
6 Oct 202331:43

TLDRIn this episode of 'The Prompt,' Samantha, Megan Keeny Anderson, and John discuss the importance of AI ethics committees within companies. Megan, who leads marketing at Jasper and is heavily involved with AI, and John, who heads security initiatives, are part of Jasper's Ethics Council. They talk about the committee's formation, its diverse membership including representatives from various company departments, and the importance of addressing ethical questions about AI use. The council has evolved to cover more decisions and has published materials to guide internal discussions on AI ethics. They emphasize the need for structured decision-making processes to handle disagreements and the importance of continuous education on AI ethics. The conversation also touches on involving customers in ethical discussions and the role of generative AI in content creation, stressing the necessity of human oversight and editing. The episode concludes with thoughts on the future role of AI ethics in companies and the potential for AI ethicists in decision-making roles.


  • 🤖 **AI Ethics Committees are Essential**: Companies like Jasper recognize the importance of having an AI Ethics Committee to address complex ethical questions that arise from AI use.
  • 🧑‍🤝‍🧑 **Diverse Representation**: The committee includes members from various departments like security, marketing, and legal to ensure a wide range of perspectives are considered.
  • 🚀 **Evolution from Discussion to Action**: The committee started with passionate discussions and has matured into a structured entity that drives action and decision-making.
  • 🤔 **Addressing Disagreements**: Disagreements are seen as healthy and necessary for a robust ethical debate, and the committee works through them towards reliable decision-making processes.
  • 📚 **Continuous Education**: Committee members stay informed through shared articles and resources to maintain a high level of AI literacy within the group.
  • 📈 **Impact Beyond the Company**: The work of ethics councils can influence media portrayal, public perception, and potentially policy-making regarding AI.
  • 🔍 **Demystifying AI**: It's important to avoid treating AI as a 'black box' and to instead promote understanding and accountability for its decision-making processes.
  • 🌐 **Customer Involvement**: Jasper actively involves customers in ethical discussions, recognizing their concerns and feedback as integral to responsible AI deployment.
  • 📉 **Limitations of AI**: The committee acknowledges that while generative AI is powerful, it has limitations and requires human oversight to ensure quality and ethical output.
  • 📝 **Transparency and Documentation**: Jasper has published some of their ethical considerations and provides templates to help other organizations start their own ethical discussions.
  • 🔧 **Influence on Product Development**: Ethical considerations directly impact product features, like changing a template from 'oneshot blog post' to 'oneshot blog draft' to encourage responsible use.

Q & A

  • What is the primary purpose of Jasper's internal Ethics Committee?

    -The primary purpose of Jasper's internal Ethics Committee is to address questions and concerns related to AI ethics, ensure responsible use of AI, and guide the company's approach to AI in a manner that is diverse, unbiased, and considers the impact on various stakeholders.

  • How did Jasper's Ethics Committee initially form?

    -Jasper's Ethics Committee initially formed as a group of passionate individuals from various departments within the company who wanted to address ethical questions and concerns related to AI. It started informally and evolved into a more structured part of the organization over time.

  • What kind of diversity does the Ethics Committee aim to achieve in its membership?

    -The Ethics Committee aims to achieve a diverse membership that includes representation from different functional areas of the company, such as security, marketing, customer success, legal, and even includes one of the company's founders to provide an overall view.

  • How does the Ethics Committee handle disagreements or debates among its members?

    -The Ethics Committee views disagreements as a healthy part of the decision-making process, indicating a diverse group capable of making complex decisions. They work through disagreements by focusing on structured discussions, considering the impact and affected parties, and using criteria to guide decision-making.

  • What role does the Ethics Committee play in educating its members and the broader company about AI ethics?

    -The Ethics Committee plays a significant role in educating its members and the broader company about AI ethics. It shares articles, discusses AI topics, and promotes AI literacy across the company. It also considers how to increase knowledge of these issues through discussion groups and potentially book groups on AI.

  • How does Jasper's Ethics Committee involve customers in its ethical decision-making process?

    -Jasper's Ethics Committee involves customers by listening to their concerns and feedback, addressing ethical questions that arise in the context of using Jasper's AI technology, and providing guidance on responsible use. They also offer a template for customers to start internal discussions about AI ethics.

  • What is the role of the Ethics Committee in relation to the AI models Jasper uses?

    -The Ethics Committee is responsible for considering the ethical implications of the AI models used by Jasper. While they don't control the models themselves, they can influence which model providers Jasper works with and ensure that the models used align with Jasper's ethical standards and the specific use cases of their customers.

  • How does Jasper's Ethics Committee approach the issue of generative AI being perceived as a 'magical' or 'omnipotent' technology?

    -The committee emphasizes the importance of understanding the limits of generative AI and the need for human oversight. They advocate for not treating AI as a black box and instead promoting transparency and accountability in how AI decisions are made.

  • What is the future outlook of the Ethics Committee in terms of its role within the company and the industry?

    -The Ethics Committee anticipates that the role of AI ethics will continue to grow in importance, both within Jasper and across the industry. They foresee the potential for AI ethics roles to become standard on company boards and for ethicists to play a significant part in guiding company decisions that impact society.

  • How does Jasper's Ethics Committee approach the issue of AI literacy across the company?

    -The committee focuses on sharing knowledge, discussing AI-related articles, and promoting a deeper understanding of AI ethics among all employees. They also consider initiatives like discussion groups and book clubs to further increase AI literacy within the company.

  • What are some common misconceptions about AI that Jasper's Ethics Committee would like to address?

    -The committee aims to dispel the notion that AI is an unexplainable 'magical' entity, and instead promote a more nuanced understanding of AI's capabilities and limitations. They also want to counter the all-or-nothing approach often portrayed in the media, advocating for a balanced perspective that recognizes the value of human involvement in AI processes.



😀 Introduction to Jasper's Ethics Council

The video begins with Samantha, the host of The Prompt, introducing the guests Megan Keeny Anderson and John, who are part of Jasper's internal Ethics Committee. Megan, who leads the marketing organization at Jasper, discusses her dual role as both a builder and user of AI within the company. John, who leads security initiatives, emphasizes his passion for working with AI in the emerging technology space. They both outline the formation and purpose of the Ethics Council, which started as a diverse group addressing questions in the AI space, focusing on responsible AI usage, diverse models, and internal decision-making processes.


🤔 Navigating Disagreements in the Ethics Council

The discussion moves to how the Ethics Council operates when disagreements arise. Megan explains the natural maturation process of such committees, emphasizing the importance of understanding roles and shifting from discussion to action. John highlights the value of having a variety of viewpoints, suggesting that disagreements can indicate a lack of diversity if they are absent. They both agree on the necessity of a structured approach to decision-making, considering various factors and impacts to reach reliable conclusions.


📚 Staying Educated on AI Ethics

The conversation shifts to the importance of staying educated on AI ethics. Megan and John discuss the methods the council uses to keep informed, including sharing articles and engaging in discussions. They stress the need for AI literacy across the entire company, not just within the Ethics Committee. John shares an example of using a game called Gandalf to illustrate and discuss AI concerns, such as prompt injection and system exploitation.


🤝 Customer Involvement in AI Ethics

The topic of customer involvement in ethical decisions is explored. The speakers discuss how ethical questions are intertwined with tactical ones from the earliest customer interactions. They mention creating a template for internal discussions on AI ethics, which is available on their website. John shares an example of a customer call where security and ethical questions were asked, and how he approaches these conversations to gather feedback and co-create solutions.


🛡️ Balancing Model Control with Ethical Responsibility

The paragraph delves into the balance between the control models have over AI outputs and the ethical responsibility that lies with the company. John discusses the importance of choosing the right models and ensuring they align with Jasper's ethical standards. Megan adds that there are small, yet significant, choices made in product development that impact responsible use. She gives an example of changing a product feature to encourage human editing and checks for bias or inaccuracies.


📉 Media Portrayal of AI and its Limitations

The speakers express concerns about the media's portrayal of AI, which often leans towards extremes, either fearing AI's potential to take over or celebrating it as a magical solution. They argue for a balanced perspective, emphasizing AI's capabilities while acknowledging its limitations. Megan stresses the need to demystify AI and maintain accountability for decision-making processes within AI systems.


🔮 The Future of AI Ethics in Corporate Governance

The final paragraph speculates on the future of AI ethics, with the suggestion that ethicists could become a standard part of corporate boards or serve as external consultants. The speakers agree on the growing importance of ethical considerations in AI and the need for companies to integrate ethicists into their operations to navigate the complexities of AI's impact on society.



💡AI Ethics Committee

An AI Ethics Committee is a group within an organization that is responsible for addressing ethical concerns related to artificial intelligence. In the context of the video, Jasper's AI Ethics Committee is composed of diverse members from various departments, and it plays a crucial role in guiding the responsible use of AI in the company's marketing strategy and product development.

💡AI in Marketing

AI in marketing refers to the application of artificial intelligence technologies to enhance marketing efforts. Megan Kenan Anderson mentions that Jasper uses AI heavily across their marketing strategy, which underscores the significance of AI in creating effective and data-driven marketing campaigns.

💡Security Compliance

Security compliance involves adhering to the rules and regulations that govern data protection and privacy. John, who leads security initiatives at Jasper, discusses the importance of security compliance in the context of AI ethics, emphasizing the need to protect user data and maintain privacy.

💡Bias in AI

Bias in AI refers to the unfairness or prejudice that can be inadvertently built into AI systems, often due to the data they are trained on. The Jasper Ethics Committee discusses the importance of ensuring that AI models are diverse and do not exhibit extreme biases, which is crucial for ethical AI deployment.

💡Ethical Decision Making

Ethical decision making involves considering moral principles when making decisions. The committee at Jasper is tasked with making decisions not just based on technical feasibility but also on ethical considerations, ensuring that the use of AI aligns with the company's values and社会责任 (social responsibility).

💡Diverse Group

A diverse group implies a team composed of individuals with different backgrounds, perspectives, and expertise. The Jasper Ethics Committee is described as a robust and diverse collection of people from various departments, which helps in making well-rounded and inclusive decisions regarding AI ethics.

💡AI Literacy

AI literacy refers to the knowledge and understanding of artificial intelligence technologies. The video emphasizes the importance of not only having an educated ethics committee but also increasing AI literacy across the entire company to foster a culture of responsible AI use.

💡Content Moderation

Content moderation is the process of reviewing and regulating content to prevent the distribution of inappropriate or harmful material. It is mentioned in the context of dealing with potential misuse of AI, such as generating hate speech or other unethical content.

💡Customer Involvement

Customer involvement means actively seeking input and feedback from customers. Jasper's approach to AI ethics includes consulting with customers and considering their concerns and questions about the ethical use of AI, which helps shape the company's policies and practices.

💡Generative AI

Generative AI refers to AI systems that can create new content, such as text, images, or music. The video discusses the potential and limitations of generative AI, emphasizing the need for human oversight and editing to ensure responsible and ethical use of the technology.

💡Ethical Oversight

Ethical oversight involves monitoring and guiding the use of technology to ensure it aligns with ethical standards. Jasper's Ethics Committee provides oversight for the company's use of AI, influencing choices about which AI models to use and how to implement them responsibly.


Jasper's internal Ethics Committee, led by Megan Keeny Anderson and John, discusses the importance of AI ethics in companies.

Megan, part of Jasper's marketing organization, emphasizes the company's heavy use of AI in their strategy.

John, leading security initiatives at Jasper, highlights the significance of security compliance and privacy in AI ethics.

The Ethics Committee at Jasper was formed to address questions in the AI space and ensure responsible AI use.

Committee members are selected based on their passion for ethics and representation from various company departments.

Disagreements within the committee are seen as healthy, reflecting the complexity of ethical decisions.

The committee has evolved from discussion to action, with a structured approach to decision-making.

Jasper's Ethics Committee uses anonymization and focusing on facts to make fair decisions on ethical breaches.

Education on AI ethics is crucial, and Jasper encourages knowledge sharing and discussion groups company-wide.

The committee uses gamified examples like 'Gandalf' to understand and discuss AI issues, such as prompt injection.

Customer involvement is key, with Jasper seeking feedback and concerns to address ethical questions.

Jasper has created a template for companies to start internal discussions on AI ethics and standards.

The role of AI ethics extends beyond technical considerations to include guiding responsible use and product choices.

Jasper's team is opinionated in making product choices that guide users towards responsible AI use.

The media's portrayal of AI often lacks a balanced view, swinging between fear and utopian expectations.

Jasper emphasizes the importance of human interaction and oversight in the use of generative AI.

The necessity of demystifying AI and promoting explainability and traceability in decision-making processes.

AI ethics roles are anticipated to grow in importance, possibly leading to positions on company boards.

Ethicists are increasingly needed to navigate the societal impacts of technology beyond just AI-focused companies.