The answer is yes - but only if leaders start embracing technological social responsibility (TSR) as a new business imperative for the AI era.

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Authors

  • Jacques Bughin
  • Eric Hazan

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In 1953, US senators grilled General Motors CEO Charles “Engine Charlie”
Wilson about his large GM shareholdings: Would they cloud his decision
making if he became the US secretary of defense and if the interests
of General Motors and the United States diverged? Wilson said that he
would always put US interests first but that he could not imagine such
a divergence taking place, because, “for years I thought what was good
for our country was good for General Motors, and vice versa.” Although
Wilson was confirmed, his remarks raised eyebrows due to widespread
skepticism about the alignment of corporate and societal interests.

The skepticism of the 1950s looks quaint when compared with today’s
concerns about whether business leaders will harness the power of
artificial intelligence (AI) and workplace automation to pad their own
pockets and those of shareholders—not to mention hurting society by
causing unemployment, infringing upon privacy, creating safety and
security risks, or worse. But is it possible that what is good for society
can also be good for business—and vice versa?