Siona Singletary
Mar 5, 2024

AI’s trust deficit: Is purposeful innovation the antidote?

Purposeful AI isn't mere jargon—it's reshaping industries from wildlife conservation to fraud detection, bridging the trust gap with transformative potential.

An AI-generated image to show how robot technology is rescuing the Great Barrier Reef.
An AI-generated image to show how robot technology is rescuing the Great Barrier Reef.

In the unfolding story of technological progress, artificial intelligence or AI stands as both the protagonist and the enigma. Across APAC, AI investments are soaring, quadrupling from $22.1 billion in 2022 to a staggering $87.6 billion by 2028. As 98% of APAC CEOs enthusiastically embrace en AI, making substantial investments for 2024, this tech surge also triggers concerns. Among the excitement, 63% of CMOs are also grappling with worries about consumer trust plummeting in the face of new tech products, potentially spelling trouble for their companies, according to a PWC report.

And they have every reason to worry.

A recent BSI report suggests that while Australians acknowledge its benefits, trust in this technology remains challenging, placing them globally at the lowest trust levels. Professor Nicole Gillespie from the University of Queensland Business School points to various concerns, including the risk of biased algorithms, privacy infringements, the spread of fake content, job losses, and the dangers associated with surveillance and AI failures.

But as AI continues to dominate conversations in 2024, it’s becoming clear that the lack of trust in this technology implies a fundamental misunderstanding. Particularly, its potential for delivering meaningful, positive outcomes and its contribution to the creativity and growth of brands are not fully grasped. Within this void lies an incredible opportunity—innovative AI that aligns with a brand’s purpose and injects meaning, optimism, and resilience into ideas. It’s the sweet spot where brand purpose and AI innovation converge to create something really extraordinary.

Purposeful AI is gearing up to be a crucial driver for brands and the agencies that help them innovate. A brand experience rooted in purpose has the potential to nurture lasting connections with consumers. Creative use of AI isn’t just about attracting new faces; it’s about reshaping
perspectives. But brands must tread carefully, making mindful choices to innovate with AI in a way that’s ethical, responsible, and, most importantly, beneficial for both the brand and the business.

Purposeful AI isn't just a tech buzzword; it's an exciting avenue for making a real impact on our world. It's where AI acts as a guide, helping us understand the intricacies of our surroundings in a more meaningful and useful way. Take Google's Project Contrails (video below) and Project Starfish perfectly embody the brand’s mission to “organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

The 2022 IPCC report noted that clouds created by contrails account for roughly 35% of aviation's global warming impact, over half the impact of the world’s jet fuel. Google’s Contrails project acts as a tech-savvy solution for environmentally conscious travellers. It melds various complex systems—cloud imaging, contrail imaging, weather data, and flight data—into a prediction model. This model guides planes to the optimal altitude to avoid those planet-warming contrails. While the project is still in its early stages, picture the perks for consumers keen on sustainable flying but lacking the
tools to interpret data for making eco-friendly decisions.

AI model detecting crown-of-thorn-starfish

Google’s Crown of Thorns (COTs) starfish project acted as a cutting-edge protector of coral reefs. It used machine learning to spot these camouflaged coral-munching creatures twenty times more effectively than the human eye. Now, the tech behind it is open-sourced, offering a global tool for coral reef conservation. Although this innovation might not directly impact consumers, its benefits are unmistakable. These coral ecosystems contribute to biodiversity and help us cope with a changing climate. Detecting and removing the Crown of Thorns starfish is a tough task for humans—they’re nearly invisible and breed rapidly, with a single female releasing over 200 million eggs yearly.

Another brand, Bumble, the women-first dating app, has unveiled its latest defence against scams and fake profiles—the 'Deception Detector,‘ even before users come in contact with the profile themselves. Leaning on AI and using a machine learning-based model to assess the authenticity of
the profiles, the tool successfully blocked 95% of fake accounts during testing, offering a significant boost to user safety. To reinforce this, Bumble plans to integrate the AI model with human moderators.

The innovation joins Bumble’s arsenal of safety features following the introduction of ‘Private Detective’ in 2019. This earlier AI tool automatically identifies and blurs potentially explicit images in chats, allowing users to choose whether to view the photo or report the user. As of last year, they
open-sourced the AI, giving Bumble a way to positively impact dating culture while embodying their brand vision of a world free of misogyny, where all relationships are equal. AI learns from our past to tell us a story about our future. So, imagine if we fuse brand purpose into AI, envisioning a more promising future. That’s when we’ll unlock its real potential to supercharge our innovation game.

The more we explore how purposeful AI can be used, the closer we’ll get to sealing that trust gap with AI.

Siona Singletary, is the associate strategy director, RGA Australia.

Campaign Asia

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