Giving Compass' Take:

• Artificial intelligence is proving to be useful in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic but does require management. Here are five ways that nonprofit leaders can participate in monitoring new technology. 

• How can donors help fund the development of AI for COVID-19? 

• Read more on how to harness the technologies in the fight against coronavirus. 

Private and public entities around the world, particularly in the health care and governance sectors, are developing and deploying a range of artificial intelligence (AI) systems in emergency response to COVID-19. Some of these systems work to track and predict its spread; others support medical response or help maintain social control. Indeed, AI systems can reduce strain on overwhelmed health care systems; help save lives by quickly diagnosing patients, and assessing health declines or progress; and limit the virus’s spread.

But there’s a problem: The algorithms driving these systems are human creations, and as such, they are subject to biases that can deepen societal inequities and pose risks to businesses and society more broadly. In this article, we look at data on the pandemic, share two recent applications of AI, and suggest a number of ways nonprofit and business leaders can help ensure that they develop, manage, and use transformative AI equitably and responsibly.

Various AI systems are proving incredibly valuable to tackling the pandemic, and others hold immense promise. But leaders must take care to develop, manage, and use this technology responsibly and equitably; the risks of discrimination and deepening inequality are simply unacceptable. Here are five actions to take now:

  1. Demand transparency and explanation of the AI system. 
  2. Join and promote multidisciplinary ethics working groups or councils to inform response to COVID-19.
  3. Build partnerships to fill health-data gaps in ways that protect and empower local communities.
  4. Advance research and innovation while emphasizing diversity and inclusion.
  5. Resist the urge to prioritize efficiency at the cost of justice and equity. 

Read the full article about COVID-19 artificial intelligence by Genevieve Smith & Ishita Rustagi at Stanford Social Innovation Review.