Commercial sector

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Over the past decade, AI has reshaped the commerce sector and consumer habits—think online shopping or recommender systems for streaming services. While many businesses are at the forefront of artificial intelligence, it’s unclear what the social and education sectors are thinking about the technology. Do they currently use it, are they interested in using it, and how?

“This field has an incredibly important role to play in the AI ​​conversation,” said Vanessa Parley, director of research programs at the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered AI. “We wanted to see how much they were already engaging with this technology and use it to inform new programs at HAI.”

To that end, Stanford HAI collaborated with Project Evident to survey nonprofit and philanthropic organizations’ current and future uses of AI. Survey It found that half of the more than 230 respondents already use AI tools in their work, and 76% believe their organizations would benefit from using more.

“We were surprised and excited to see the difference in opportunity,” Parley added. I thought these sentiments would spill over into the social and education sectors, but among our respondents, there’s a real hunger to understand how AI can create more opportunities for impact. Dangers in mind.”

Here Perley describes key findings and recommendations for closing this opportunity gap, as well as Stanford HAI’s goal of creating a collaborative group of nonprofits, funders, and scholars.

What was the motivation for this survey?

Social and education sectors play an important role in the development of AI. At Stanford HAI, we want to create programming to engage these audiences and help educate them about AI, the benefits, risks, and how to think about deploying these technologies in nonprofit organizations. This survey was our first step in connecting AI research and community needs.

How are social organizations using AI now, and what do they want from it?

My colleague Huzaifa Badi-ul-Zaman [Stanford HAI program manager] And I had heard anecdotally that nonprofits weren’t using AI. However, about 50% of our nonprofit respondents say they use these technologies, mostly for support work — operational processes like finance, human resources, contracting, marketing. A good number of them are also using AI for mission-related work. An example of this here at Stanford is GeoMatch. Funded by the HAI Hoffman-Yee grant program, it is a machine learning. which uses AI to match refugees with new homes.

Overall, respondents expressed an interest in AI. Virtual assistants /analysis, and content creation (Productive AI).

What results surprised you?

Educational nonprofits seem to be ahead of the curve. Our survey shows that they are using AI more than all other types of nonprofits combined. Perhaps this makes sense as there has been a lot of investment in the sector.

Another thing I found interesting was the size of the chance gap. We asked people, how do you think your organization could benefit from using more AI? About 75% of respondents believe their organization would benefit from more AI, especially around mission-related work.

Additionally, on behalf of grant makers, we asked if these organizations had plans to create a specific AI funding focus area. Most respondents do not have a specific preference for creating a technology grant and do not intend to create one, which means that instead of bringing in specialized AI expertise, they need to educate their entire organization about the risks and opportunities of these tools. will need to.

So if there is a huge opportunity gap here, what are the barriers to adoption?

The No. 1 challenge was concern about bias. Given the sensitive data these organizations can collect, this makes sense. Also ranking high were lack of clarity about how AI would help the organization and information about AI within the organization, as well as concerns about cost—for them. Respondents, cost ranked No.2.

Based on these findings, what do you recommend for these organizations?

On the philanthropic side, we recommend investing in scalable resource development for grantees. Nonprofits may not have the technical expertise to develop in-house resources, or the funds to hire contractors, to be truly useful.

Also, we recommend that nonprofits, funders, and AI researchers collaborate and experiment together. Research is often silenced in the development process. Nonprofit organizations do not have the opportunity to use the tool unless it is commercialized. Bringing all of these groups into the conversation as early as possible ensures that these tools are developed in ways that align with the nonprofit’s mission and focus on equity.

For nonprofits, we recommend they become savvy and engaged buyers of these tools. By working with other nonprofits using these tools and learning how bias manifests, they can determine minimum thresholds for technology companies to address bias in their products. Basically it will be created Among nonprofits to reduce the burden on a single entity to define whether an instrument has sufficiently strong guardrails.

How will Stanford HAI help these organizations?

Haifa and I are working with nonprofits and funders to create some of these educational resources. We’ve invited many of our survey respondents and other social sector organizations to a meeting this week to start a conversation about what resources they might need. We also plan to develop a program to match some of our researchers with nonprofit organizations early in the process of collaboratively designing and developing these tools.

More information:
Influencing Processes: Identifying Social Sector AI Opportunity Gaps (Working Paper): hai.stanford.edu/inspiring-act … r-ai-opportunity-gap

Reference: Bridging the opportunity gap in the social sector (2024, February 16) Retrieved February 17, 2024, from https://phys.org/news/2024-02-bridging-opportunity-gap-social-sector.html

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