AI for Online Trust and Safety in Modern Businesses

The concept of online trust and safety keeps me awake at night. It’s broad. It’s ever evolving. And I predict that it will be as important in the next decade as cybersecurity has been in this past decade. Leaders I’ve seen embrace this are typically those willing to leverage innovation to break through and address social justice issues at scale. That can mean human trafficking, which relies on a lot of personal identifiable information in order to conduct interventions and recover victims; or it could be healthcare innovations like helping to accelerate diagnostics for people. It can also look like climate change and sustainability. The magic is being able to identify what you’re trying to accomplish and then creating a roadmap with the right tools to make it happen. AI is one of those tools.

One hurdle: industry regulation and technological advancements still struggle to align. This brings some unintended consequences that, if the impact and scale of the subsequent safety concerns were truly understood, people would be demanding more from their legislature as well as the companies and brands they use daily.

Human trafficking, for example, is something that digital platforms have unintentionally made easier. Traffickers can more easily identify and exploit vulnerable individuals, as well as operate their illicit businesses with greater anonymity and efficiency. Victims are often recruited through social media. And traffickers may use technology to coordinate and manage their operations, including booking hotels, arranging transportation, and communicating with buyers. In order to conceal their transactions and launder money, they can also employ cryptocurrencies and other forms of online payment.

Simply put, criminals don’t follow the rules. They’re going to use any means necessary, exploiting any and all vulnerabilities, to accomplish their mission. It is up to organizations to make their platforms secure and safeguard end users against these bad actors. You can spend 20 years building an amazing brand and have it destroyed in 20 seconds with the wrong content on your platform or with a breach in security.

Here are the top six tips for navigating an AI-driven future with a focus on trust, safety, and business success:

  • Start Strong: Begin with a digital safety assessment to determine where you’re at in your AI lifecycle
  • Embrace Ethical AI Practices: Prioritize ethical considerations in the development and deployment of AI technologies. Ensure transparency, fairness, and accountability throughout the AI lifecycle.
  • Invest in Robust Data Security: Protect sensitive data by implementing strong cybersecurity measures. Safeguard customer information, intellectual property, and other valuable assets from potential threats and breaches.
  • Foster a Culture of Continuous Learning: Encourage employees to upskill and reskill to adapt to AI-driven changes. Embrace a growth mindset and provide opportunities for training and development to stay ahead of the curve.
  • Prioritize Trust and Privacy: Build trust with customers by demonstrating a commitment to privacy and data protection. Implement transparent data collection practices and empower individuals to control their personal information.
  • Collaborate with AI Experts: Partner with AI experts and leverage their knowledge to make informed decisions. Seek external guidance and stay informed about the latest advancements and best practices in AI technology.

A digitally safe world

It is more crucial than ever for businesses to prioritize online trust and safety – ensuring they are prepared for any number of cyber threats. Falling victim could mean suffering significant financial loss, operational disruption, reputational damage, and putting end users at risk. Proactively tapping into the power of AI is key to comprehensively protecting data, systems, and people.

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About Author

Lisa Thee is the Data and AI Managing Director at Launch Consulting, where she helps companies navigate a world of data for better, safer, and more informed decision-making. Ms. Thee is a consultant to some of the world's most innovative healthcare, and global technology companies including Microsoft and UCSF’s Center for Digital Healthcare Innovation to accelerate FDA approval for AI use in clinical settings. She is the CEO and Co-Founder of Minor Guard, an Artificial Intelligence software company focused on making people safer online and in real life. She is a keynote speaker including her TEDx talk "Bringing Light To Dark Places Online: Disrupting Human Trafficking Using AI." She hosts the Navigating Forward podcast. She has been named to the 2021 Top Health and Safety, Privacy, and AI Thought Leaders and Influencers and Women in Business you should follow by Thinkers 360. She was recently named to the 2022 “Top 100 Brilliant Women in AI Ethics” global list. Ms. Thee currently serves as an advisory board member for Engineered Medical Solutions, Humaxa, Spectrum Labs and Marketplace Risk. She is also a Board of Director's member for 3 Strands Global Foundation, a human trafficking prevention and reintegration focused organization. As CEO and Chairman of the Board for Minor Guard, she secured seed funding, led product development and set the sales strategy. She brings board value for ESG specifically around AI ethics and Diversity & Inclusion. Ms. Thee has 19 years of digital director experience most recently overseeing $6B in business for Intel’s data center and storage markets. Ms. Thee drove the enterprise and government playbook to grow data center market segment share (MSS) by addressing big data and AI use cases for cybersecurity, image, and text processing. Ms. Thee led engagements for big data solutions to disrupt child exploitation in partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), Google, and Microsoft; including ingestion, transition to hybrid cloud, and building machine learning models to accelerate the coordinated national response to child abuse reports from 30 days to 24 hours. As the founder of the project she secured $4M in funding for hardware and engineering resources for 2017. Ms. Thee holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial and Operations Management Engineering, from the University of Michigan. She is also a certified Project Management Professional who was licensed by the Project Management Institute in 2005.