Using Artificial Intelligence in the Workplace: What are the Main Risks for Ethics?
Historically undergoing major changes, the concept of artificial intelligence has grown into a point of focus in people’s lives. In fact, artificial intelligence is viewed by some as a threat to humanity while it is considered as a major technology to boost the prosperity of people and add to development in many aspects including industrial services, education, judicial affairs, and healthcare.
Using Artificial Intelligence in the Workplace
Work environment seems to undergo a great deal of changes in function and working conditions as artificial intelligence makes its presence felt in professional life. As artificial intelligence keeps growing at all times, companies that tap into artificial intelligence at work move one step ahead of those who do not. The reason is that artificial intelligence reduces the workload and improves efficiency and productivity, minimising the possibility of human-caused failures, spotting those that may otherwise go unnoticed, and providing benefits in the short and long terms. However, the fear that artificial intelligence would replace and drive people out of business as it becomes popular and expands in scope.
Ethical Risks of Tapping into Artificial Intelligence at Work
The legal basis for artificial intelligence is one of the key components underscored by the Ethics Guideline for Trustworthy AI introduced by the Council of Europe on December 18, 2018. While most of the developed countries have just kicked off efforts to provide a legal basis for artificial intelligence, it is obvious that it would be arduous to adapt it to the business world and take unhurried and prudential actions. This is because one of the main principles of artificial intelligence is based on data collection and data should be collected to be processed in line with the applicable legislation on protection of personal data, human rights, and a legal basis. The protection of the environment and biological ecosystem is another matter of consideration. Once we reduce the human workload by means of artificial intelligence, it presumably yields positive effects on environmental protection whereas the harm done by servers, which help artificial intelligence work, to natural resources, environment, and thus human health is a risk.
OECD released some principles on Trustworthy AI as part of its report on October 11, 2022. OECD describes trustworthy artificial intelligence as artificial intelligence based on values and compatible with principles.
In this sense, five principles based on values have been set:
- Inclusive growth, sustainable development, and well-being
- Human-centred values and fairness
- Transparency and explainability
- Robustness, security, and safety
Commissioned by OECD in July 2022, the study titled “Using Artificial Intelligence In the Workplace: What are the Main Ethical Risks?” offers a review of ethical risks from the perspective of human rights as they may arise when artificial intelligence is used in workplaces without measures taken first.
The study notes that among the risks are the gap of digital security and potentially substantial pressure on employees. It is getting more and more difficult to keep up with the actions of artificial intelligence systems because of their mobility and decision-making autonomy. The capability of artificial intelligence to make estimations and process unstructured data can serve as an element to monitor the workforce in the workplace and expand its coverage.
In addition, artificial intelligence systems can be systematised in unwanted ways, multiplying biases. Relying on a perpetual decision-making mechanism in the workplace can make the emergence of workforce autonomy, involvement, creativity, and thus new ideas more difficult.
Drawn up in line with OECD’s principles in July 2022, the study argues that ethical concerns may arise from the use of artificial intelligence in every aspect ranging from recruitment to provision of customer services. However, it is also noted that artificial intelligence reinforces a fair work environment, improves the safety of employees, and adds to the improvement of workplaces once it is well-guided.
As a result, it is inevitable to see artificial intelligence penetrate into our lives and workplaces in the future. However, there is no doubt ethical risks that may be caused by artificial intelligence would be minimised should human-centred values be looked out for in the right and reliable way. With that being the case, the international organisations agree that artificial intelligence should be adapted to ethics in the professional life where employees and customers always interact with one another.
Using Artificial Intelligence in the workplace
The European Commission Ethic Guidelines for Trustworthy AI
OECD Council Recommendation on Artificial Intelligence
OECD G20 Ministerial Statement on Trade and Digital Economy-Annex: G20 AI Principles
OECD AI Principles overview. The OECD Artificial Intelligence (AI) Principles
OECD.AI. (n.d.). Retrieved from
6- Yuval N. Harari, 2018 , 21 Lessons for the 21st century,1st Edition, Kolektif Publications, Türkiye
Artificial Intelligence and Human Rights
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