WTTC shares 7 ways industry mitigate risks of AI

WTTC shares 7 ways industry mitigate risks of AI

Its based on findings from its latest report, produced in collaboration with Microsoft

The latest World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) report, titled Responsible Artificial Intelligence (AI): Overview of AI Risks, Safety & Governance, produced in collaboration with Microsoft, has revealed the need to prioritise safety, ethical considerations, and responsible AI adoption to achieve a balanced AI ecosystem.

A major concern in the travel industry is job replacement. Unlike past automation revolutions, the AI surge is expected to impact skilled workers, particularly managers and professionals. 

A Goldman Sachs report estimates that in Europe, 29% of managerial and 34% of professional jobs could be replaced by AI within 10 years. 

Globally, this could mean 300 million job losses but a 7% (or nearly $7 trillion USD) increase in global GDP.  

WTTC data showed that pre-pandemic, the global Travel & Tourism sector accounted for nearly 300 million jobs, equivalent to the potential job loss over the next decade. 

To address this, workers should be trained to work with AI, and job transition plans are needed for the most affected areas.

Another major concern is the regulation of AI use in hiring, firing, performance reviews, and setting working conditions. 

New York City was among the first US cities to introduce AI legislation, with AI Law 216 coming into effect in 2023 to prevent AI bias in the employment process.

A survey in May 2023 of 439 business executives from across multiple industries participated in a Responsible AI Index, which found that  82% of businesses believed they were applying best practice approaches to responsible AI, but on closer inspection, only 24% were taking deliberate action to ensure their AI systems were developed  and operated responsibly. 

For Travel & Tourism businesses that don't yet have an approach to the responsible and ethical use of AI, the following frameworks from 

Microsoft, Google, IBM and WTTC industry members advise the following frameworks for travel and tourism businesses that don't yet have an approach for responsible and ethical use of AI: 

  1. Consider a broad range of social and economic factors, and proceed with AI developments where the overall likely benefits substantially exceed the foreseeable risks and downsides

  2. Avoid unfair bias: Try and avoid unjust impacts on people, particularly related to sensitive characteristics such as race, ethnicity, gender, nationality, income, sexual orientation, ability, and political or religious belief

  3. Design AI systems to be appropriately cautious and develop them according to best practices in AI safety research

  4. Create AI systems that provide opportunities for feedback, relevant explanations, and appeal

  5. Incorporate privacy design principles: ensure opportunities for notice and consent, encourage architectures with privacy safeguards, and provide transparency and control over data use.

  6. Collaborate with various stakeholders to promote leadership in AI and responsibly share AI knowledge through educational materials, best practices, and research.

  7. Work to limit potentially harmful or abusive applications so that you develop and deploy technologies that mitigate this