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Small-Business Owners Should Embrace Responsible AI, says GoDaddy

Foster trust with customers and safeguard against potential AI risks and pitfalls.

Small-Business Owners Should Embrace Responsible AI, says GoDaddy

Foster trust with customers and safeguard against potential AI risks and pitfalls.

Published 06-19-24

Submitted by GoDaddy

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Ade McCray, founder and CEO, Pilates King.

Originally published on Inc.

By Emily Wheeler

In today's rapidly evolving business landscape, generative artificial intelligence is a cornerstone of innovation and growth for companies of all sizes. From enhancing customer experiences to optimizing marketing and operational efficiency, the potential of GenAI is vast and transformative. With this power, however, we must ensure that GenAI is used ethically and responsibly.

As outlined in our newly released 2023 Sustainability Report, GoDaddy leaders understand the significance of responsible AI, which is why we remain vigilant in encouraging ongoing dialogue and minimizing risks posed by GenAI such as misinformation and algorithmic bias.

Acknowledging the potential impact of AI

For small businesses, embracing responsible AI means recognizing the technology's effect on customers, employees, and society. It also means ensuring GenAI systems are designed and utilized in ways that are ethical, unbiased, and respectful of individual privacy. GoDaddy's January 2024 survey of more than 500 U.S. small business owners found that entrepreneurs are embracing GenAI and increasingly using it to run and grow their ventures.

But, in recent years, there have been numerous examples of AI gone awry, from biased hiring algorithms to discriminatory loan-approval systems.

Despite concerns, GoDaddy's survey found that apprehension is low among small business owners. Eighty-nine percent of respondents said they are not worried about negative consequences associated with using AI technology for their business--a rise from May 2023 (83 percent).

Central to responsible AI are several key principles that should guide small businesses in their GenAI endeavors, including:

  • Fairness ensures that GenAI systems do not discriminate against individuals or groups based on factors such as race, gender, or socioeconomic status.
  • Transparency requires that businesses are open and forthcoming about how GenAI is being used and the potential implications for stakeholders.
  • Accountability means owning AI outcomes, ensuring accuracy, and addressing unintended consequences, including the potential for fabrication or hallucination.
  • Privacy is paramount; businesses must uphold the confidentiality and security of data used in GenAI applications.

With these principles in mind, entrepreneurs can confidently get the most out of GenAI technology.

Implementing responsible AI practices requires a concerted effort

There are some practical steps that small business owners can take to support ethical AI use:

  1. Never enter sensitive or confidential information. Anything entered may be used to train the AI models and in ways out of your control.
  2. Always manually review AI-generated content for accuracy, bias, and potential plagiarism. Fact-check all claims and citations. GenAI responses may be dated, fictional, or violate intellectual property laws. Use your judgment or consult a legal advisor.
  3. Adapt content to your brand. Ultimately, you understand your business and audience best. Use GenAI as a starting place, but edit content to align with your brand personality and business goals. This practice may lower your risk of accidental plagiarism, too.

By taking these steps, small businesses can harness the power of GenAI for innovation and competitive advantage in a way that aligns with their values and commitments to responsible business practices.

Small businesses are paving the way

GoDaddy's global social impact program, Empower by GoDaddy, offers digital tools, mentoring, and networking to help entrepreneurs in underserved communities succeed and has provided valuable insights and feedback from program participants on the adoption of GenAI technologies.

Phoenix, Arizona-based Ade McCray, founder and CEO of Pilates King, learned how to use GenAI tools to assist in developing his business plan while participating in Empower by GoDaddy.

"Empower by GoDaddy was most helpful to me in regard to advertising," said Ade. "I learned the best practices when it came to using GoDaddy Studio and AI chatbots, which assisted in problem-solving, as well as helping me formulate and fine-tune ideas I had for my business."

This year, Empower by GoDaddy launched a new course dedicated to helping entrepreneurs harness GenAI capabilities, which includes a section about limitations and responsible use of AI.

GoDaddy's AI initiatives have enabled innovation while upholding commitments to ethical and sustainable business practices

In 2023, we announced GoDaddy Airo, a GenAI-powered intelligent experience that proactively builds and helps entrepreneurs grow their online businesses, simplifying our customers' journeys. As these technologies evolve, a council dedicated to AI and machine learning governance will help oversee our efforts, ensuring appropriate guardrails and risk management measures are in place.

By embracing responsible AI practices, we not only safeguard against potential risks but also pave the way for a more inclusive and equitable future. As entrepreneurs embark on their own AI journeys, we encourage them to prioritize ethical considerations and join us in building a future where AI works for everyone.

Emily Wheeler is a senior manager of corporate sustainability and ESG at GoDaddy and inclusive entrepreneurship expert where she oversees Empower by GoDaddy, a global social impact program dedicated to supporting underserved entrepreneurs with digital tools, mentorship, and networking.

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GoDaddy is empowering everyday entrepreneurs around the world by providing all of the help and tools to succeed online. GoDaddy is the place people come to name their idea, build a professional website, attract customers, sell their products and services, and manage their work. Our mission is to give our customers the tools, insights and the people to transform their ideas and personal initiative into success. To learn more about the company, visit

About GoDaddy for Good

GoDaddy focuses on making opportunity more inclusive for all in the communities where we work, live and play across the globe. We rally behind inclusive entrepreneurship and other critical local needs that empower people to succeed through philanthropic and in-kind donations, volunteerism, strategic partnerships and advocacy.

Empower by GoDaddy 

Empower by GoDaddy is GoDaddy's global community and philanthropic program equipping entrepreneurs in underserved communities with training, tools and peer networks to accelerate their journeys. GoDaddy rallies behind entrepreneurs in underserved communities by building their confidence and skills to strengthen their small business’ digital presence.  Entrepreneurs engage in customized learning experiences, work 1-1 with GoDaddy volunteer coaches and local mentors, and gain access to wrap-around services, in-kind products and networks boosting their small businesses success.

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