Are You Overestimating Your Responsible AI Maturity

Many Large Organizations Are Overestimating Their Responsible AI Maturity

A BCG GAMMA Survey Finds 55% of Organizations Believe That Their RAI Maturity Is Higher Than It Is, While Less Than Half of Those That Reported Reaching AI at Scale Have a Fully Mature RAI Program

BOSTON—A new global survey conducted by BCG GAMMA finds that 55% of all respondents overestimated the maturity of their responsible artificial intelligence (RAI) program—the structures, processes, and tools that help organizations ensure that their AI systems work in the service of good while transforming their businesses. In addition, less than half of the organizations that reported achieving AI at scale have a fully mature RAI implementation. The survey is discussed in an article titled “Are You Overestimating Your Responsible AI Maturity?” and is being released today.

The survey, the first to assess the maturity of RAI implementations, collected data from senior executives at more than 1,000 large organizations. It found that organizations fell into four distinct stages of RAI maturity: lagging (14%), developing (34%), advanced (31%), and leading (21%). An organization’s stage reflects its progress in addressing seven generally accepted dimensions of RAI, including fairness and equity, data and privacy governance, and human plus AI.

Steven Mills, BCG GAMMA’s chief ethics officer and a coauthor, noted, “The results were surprising in that so many organizations are overly optimistic about the maturity of their responsible AI implementation. While many organizations are making progress, it’s clear the depth and breadth of most efforts fall behind what is needed to truly ensure responsible AI.”

Although C-suite executives and boards of directors are concerned with the organizational risks posed by a lapse of an AI system, the survey finds that businesses are not pursuing RAI simply to mitigate potential risks. Instead, leading organizations know that RAI is an opportunity to realize significant business benefits.

Sylvain Duranton, BCG GAMMA’s global leader and a coauthor, added, “Increasingly, the smartest organizations I’m talking to are moving beyond risk to focus on the significant business benefits of RAI, including brand differentiation, improved employee recruiting and retention, and a culture of responsible innovation—one that’s supported by the corporate purpose and values.”

Key findings from the survey include:

  • Organizations’ RAI programs typically neglect three RAI dimensions—fairness and equity, social and environmental impact mitigation, and human plus AI—because they are difficult to address.
  • Most organizations that are in the leading stage of RAI maturity have both an individual and a committee guiding their RAI strategy.
  • An organization’s region is a better predictor than its industry of its RAI maturity.
  • Some regions are clearly more mature, on average, than others; Europe and North America have the highest RAI maturity.
  • Organizations in different industries engage in RAI for different reasons; the public sector, for example, is less focused on business benefits, compared with the industrial goods and automotive industries.

The article and survey results can be viewed here.

To arrange an interview with one of the authors, please contact Eric Gregoire at +1 617 850 3783 or


BCG GAMMA is BCG’s global team dedicated to applying artificial intelligence and advanced analytics to critical business problems at leading companies and organizations. The team includes more than 900 data scientists and engineers who utilize AI and advanced analytics (including machine learning, deep learning, optimization, simulation, natural language, and image analytics) to build solutions that transform business performance. BCG GAMMA’s approach builds value and competitive advantage at the intersection of data science, technology, people, business processes, and ways of working. For more information, please visit our webpage.

About Boston Consulting Group

Boston Consulting Group partners with leaders in business and society to tackle their most important challenges and capture their greatest opportunities. BCG was the pioneer in business strategy when it was founded in 1963. Today, we work closely with clients to embrace a transformational approach aimed at benefiting all stakeholders—empowering organizations to grow, build sustainable competitive advantage, and drive positive societal impact.
Our diverse, global teams bring deep industry and functional expertise and a range of perspectives that question the status quo and spark change. BCG delivers solutions through leading-edge management consulting, technology and design, and corporate and digital ventures. We work in a uniquely collaborative model across the firm and throughout all levels of the client organization, fueled by the goal of helping our clients thrive and enabling them to make the world a better place.

Press Releases