AI presents greater threat than climate change: Alphinity

artificial intelligence

12 April 2023
| By Laura Dew |
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Getting the growth of artificial intelligence (AI) wrong could present a greater problem than climate change, according to Alphinity, and should be considered as part of an ESG application.

Speaking on a Fidante podcast, Mary Manning, portfolio manager on the Global Sustainability fund at Alphinity discussed the importance of considering AI from an environmental, social and governance (ESG) perspective.

A particular concern of Manning was the development of AI to become sentient with the ability to process thoughts and feelings.

“If you think about AI and the possibility of AI will become sentient at some point, if you think about that over the long term, then if we get AI wrong and robots or sentient beings start to take over, then that is a very big threat to humanity, arguably even more so than climate change.

“That is a very big threat of AI and it gets very little attention.”

She particularly highlighted stocks such as Microsoft and Google, which both had a chatbot option, Apple and Amazon, which produced smart home devices, self-driving car companies and healthcare companies.

A second concern was that AI was excluded from the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) so it was important for firms to build their own frameworks. For Alphinity, this included assessing AI design, AI application and AI governance.

Jessica Cairns, ESG and sustainability manager at Alphinity, said: “It is important to clarify it is not an ESG risk by itself. AI is a great opportunity for businesses and one we are encouraging businesses to use in their operations. 

“But we think about the associated risks linked to AI, whether that’s AI being applied poorly, using bad data which can incur penalties and fines, exclusions or gender bias, issues with product quality or safety and human rights issues. It is a very complex area so it’s important to think about a range of ESG issues.”

Alphinity had partnered with Data 61, the digital arm of Australia’s science agency CSIRO, to produce a research report on the responsible application of AI for investors, and hoped to publish a joint report around September/October 2023 as well as a framework on the risks of AI holdings.

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Submitted by Hedware on Wed, 2023-04-12 11:36

Failure to stop climate change is an extinction outcome for humans. Worrying about AI is existential matter for humans. Maybe AI will help address the first order issue because humans are not doing much fast. You don't need AI to question Alphinity's take.

Submitted by Patrick Kissane on Wed, 2023-04-12 15:14

Deja Vu! Artificial Intelligence was all the rage in the early 1990's.
The more things change, the more they remain the same.

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