Even as we marvel at the newest AI capabilities, the current “wow factor” can’t obscure a growing concern: trust in AI technology and the companies that develop it is dropping.

That’s the big news from new data shared with Axios this week. They found that trust in AI companies has dropped to 53% globally, down from 61% five years ago. In the U.S., trust has fallen 15 percentage points (from 50% to 35%) over the same period.

That wave of mistrust is affecting the entire tech industry. Eight years ago, technology was the leading industry in trust in 90% of the countries Edelman studies. Today, it is the most trusted in only half of countries.

As AI moves past its showy debut and into real-world settings, organizations must demonstrate a real commitment to privacy and value. Without it, trust will continue to erode with the public while governments stand ready with strict regulations. Here are some tangible steps companies can take to build trust and confidence in their AI solutions.

Demonstrate Transparency and Open Communications

Transparency and authenticity are now core tenets of every modern brand. By proactively sharing information about the outcomes your AI delivers —offering a comprehensive breakdown of methodologies, data sources and refinement processes — you can begin laying the foundation for open dialogue with customers, media and investors.

A PR agency can help deliver this message of accountability and shape clear and accessible explanations of how AI systems work. Audiences are sharper than ever at detecting pandering, inauthenticity or evasiveness, so active engagement is essential.

Put Ethical AI at the Heart of Your Message

Earlier this month, Google suspended its Gemini AI image-generation system after it created historically inaccurate images and text. It was riveting to watch one of the biggest companies in the world publicly wrestle with misrepresentations that shook AI's credibility and highlighted ethical concerns about weights and biases programmed into these systems.

Margaret Mitchell, the Chief Ethics Scientist at Hugging Face, wrote in Time, “Where AI ethics focuses on addressing foreseeable use cases– such as historical depictions–Gemini seems to have opted for a "one size fits all" approach, resulting in an awkward mix of refreshingly diverse and cringeworthy outputs.”

The controversy with Google emphasizes the vital role that ethical AI will play in every company. Along with developing the mechanics of an AI solution, organizations must also develop and publicly communicate a robust ethical AI framework that outlines a commitment to principles such as fairness, privacy protection and human oversight.

Demonstrate the Tangible Benefits of AI Solutions

Now that AI-generated content is everywhere, the initial intrigue surrounding the technology has waned. It's crucial to showcase tangible benefits your product or service brings, such as measurable time, cost savings, and ROI.

Are your teams comprised of dedicated AI experts—researchers, data scientists, mathematicians, and engineers? Emphasizing your team's expertise and academic foundation is integral to your company's narrative.

Establishing thought leadership through contributed articles strategically placed by a PR agency in relevant publications cements your company's authority in the AI domain. Crafting a compelling message can drive leads and sustain media interest over time.

How PR Can Help

Public relations plays a crucial role in building trust and confidence in AI solutions, helping craft compelling narratives that resonate with the public, emphasizing the positive impact of their AI solutions and addressing potential concerns or misconceptions.

By securing media coverage and facilitating thought leadership opportunities (contributed articles, speaking engagements, and interviews), PR can help organizations position themselves as authorities in AI and demonstrate their commitment to responsible development and deployment.

To stop the declining trust in AI technology, organizations must prioritize transparency, ethical AI development, and communicating their AI solutions' tangible benefits and real-world impact. By leveraging strategic public relations efforts, companies can rebuild public confidence, establish thought leadership, and pave the way for the responsible adoption of transformative AI technologies.