A white paper by The Hague & Partners Convention Bureau and Ottawa Tourism will reveal that 63% of global association buyers are either very concerned or slightly concerned about the ethical implications of using AI in event organising when it launches next month.

The white paper, which will explore the ethical implications of AI usage across the global association event industry, will also show that 63% of association respondents think governments should legislate on using AI in event organising.  However, in stark contrast to this desire, 65% also think those same governments lack the knowledge to legislate effectively.

Of particular concern for the respondents is the usage and retention of the data obtained by technology companies through AI. 20% of the respondents said that AI technology providers are not very trustworthy, with 13% saying they are not att all trustworthy.  These 33% outweigh the 27% who “mostly” trust the data providers.

As one possible solution, 52% of the respondents favour an International Standard (ISO) to cover the usage of AI in events.  29% said “maybe” such a standard should be created; 7% said “no.”

“AI is inevitable, and it is already impacting our lives in many ways,” comments Bas Schot, Head of The Hague & Partners Convention Bureau. “Those individuals and organisations thinking it will not impact them don’t realise how ingrained it is in our world already.  It is all too easy to think about generative artificial intelligence; however, AI is so much more, and we need to harness the power of it in a way that is ethical and positive for everyone.”

Ottawa Tourism’s Vice President, Meeting and Major Events, Lesley Pincombe, added: “We wanted to go beyond discussions about what AI can do, to consider how we should integrate it into our organisations at a human level.  There is no denying AI can do incredible things. However, should we allow it; when should we apply the brakes, communicate better and focus on humanity rather than technology?”

In addition to the survey, the white paper is being created following interviews and round table discussions with association and AI sectors experts. The full white paper will cover these topics in more detail, explore particular areas of concern for the industry and question whether the sector is upskilling quickly enough to meet the growing usage of AI as a technology.

Corporate Results

Although a much smaller data set, 50% of the corporate event organiser respondents are slightly concerned about the ethical implications of using AI in event organising. 71% think governments should legislate, but 71% don’t think they have the knowledge to do so. While 28% of them have concerns about the technology providers’ trustworthiness, this is considerably outweighed by the 50% who do trust them.

*The Hague Convention Bureau and Ottawa Tourism surveyed 109 event professionals in October 2023. During the survey, they were asked what type of organisation they worked for; these were combined into two groups as follows:
• Association, charity/not-for-profit, government/public sector and agencies focused on these sectors. Total – 91 respondents – described as associations/not-for-profits above
• Corporate company with 500 or more employees, a corporate company with less than 500 employees, and agencies focused on the corporate sector. Total – 14 respondents – described as corporates above
• The remaining four responses were excluded as industry suppliers

61% of the respondents were from Europe (including the UK), 31% from North America and 8% from the rest of the world.

The white paper will be available to download from The Hague Convention Bureau and Ottawa Tourism. Or you can email info@soaringww.com to be amongst the first to receive a copy.

All percentages have been rounded to the nearest whole per cent.