Can AI Be a Force For Good or Will It Widen The Inequalities Gap? - Business in the Community

Can AI Be a Force For Good or Will It Widen The Inequalities Gap?

Post author image. Phillippa Lennox-King
Phillippa Lennox-King, Head of Responsible Business Strategy, Business in the Community (BITC), on how we can ensure AI is used as a force for good.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to change everything, from how we go about tasks in our daily lives to how businesses operate. Many businesses have been using AI for some time, but it’s only recently that generative AI technology has been made available to anyone at the click of a button.

AI is quickly turning into the phenomenon we always expected, but are we ready for the changes AI will bring?

According to Accenture’s Pulse of Change: Index 2024, which considers the six key changes across the business landscape including technology, talent, economic, geopolitical, climate, consumer and social, technology has increased from number six on the list in 2022 to number one in 2023. In just one year, technology has jumped from something businesses considered as a possible key area for change to the number one spot, and AI has played a massive role in that.

CEOs have also ranked technology as the number one cause of change in their organisations, showing the need for collective action to make sure that as AI gets more sophisticated, businesses use it responsibly.  

Three images depicting AI in the workplace.

Using AI Responsibly

Responsible AI is a phrase that has been coined since the launch of generative AI, which has become accessible to anyone who has an internet connection, but what exactly does it mean? Responsible AI is not just about using AI responsibly, it’s about ensuring that the technology that sits behind it doesn’t discriminate by making biased decisions, hinder transparency and accountability or create an even wider inequalities gap that many businesses are working hard to address.

Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategies have become non-negotiable for businesses, as they understand that not only is addressing DEI the right thing to do, but it also has tangible business benefits.

A report from McKinsey Global Institute cited that lower-paid workers were 14 times more likely to need to change occupations by 2030 due to AI. These roles are disproportionately held by those with less education, women and ethnically diverse employees. 1

From an environmental perspective, we are currently sitting on an AI carbon time-bomb, with industry estimates forecasting that the power used in data centres could account for 13% of annual global electricity consumption by 2030, up from 1.5% currently.2 AI has the potential to either rip up decades of hard work on these agendas or drive this work forward and bring us even closer to living and working in a fairer and greener world. I know which one I’d prefer, and we have the power to make it happen.

It is up to business leaders to come together to understand the challenges and opportunities that the rollout of AI across businesses brings, and most importantly, to understand the shared responsibility to ensure that AI is used as a force for good.

No one business can shoulder the responsibility of AI alone; collaboration is essential. So, as we begin to understand living and working in a world where the use of AI is seen as part of normal life, my advice is that we must work together. Collaboration is the only way we can ensure that as AI develops further, it will be a force for good in helping people, businesses, communities and the planet to thrive.

Responsible AI events

We plan to explore all of this and more in our five-part Responsible AI event series launching in May, led by our issue area experts and involving speakers from leading businesses working in this space.



1 Low-wage earners are 14 times more likely to lose jobs to AI, report finds,, (July 2023).
2 The Carbon Countdown: AI and Its 10 Billion Rise in Power Use,, (February 2024).