Two of Deutsche Telekom’s most important goals are to keep being a trusted companion and to enhance customer experience.
We see it as our responsibility as one of the leading ICT companies in Europe to foster the development of “intelligent technologies”. At least either important, these technologies, such as AI, must follow predefined ethical rules.
To define a corresponding ethical framework, firstly it needs a common understanding on what AI means. Today there are several definitions of AI, like the very first one of John McCarthy (1956) “Every aspect of learning or any other feature of intelligence can in principle be so precisely described that a machine can be made to simulate it.” In line with other companies and main players in the field of AI we at DT think of AI as the imitation of human intelligence processes by machines, especially computer systems. These processes include learning, reasoning, and self correction.
After several decades, Artificial Intelligence has become one of the most intriguing topics of today – and the future. It has become widespread available and is discussed not only among experts but also more and more in public, politics, etc.. AI has started to influence business (new market opportunities as well as efficiency driver), society (e.g. broad discussion about autonomously driving vehicles or AI as “job machine” vs. “job killer”) and the life of each individual (AI already found its way into the living room, e.g. with voice steered digital assistants like smart speakers).
But the use of AI and its possibilities confront us not only with fast developing technologies but as well as with the fact that our ethical roadmaps, based on human human interactions, might not be sufficient in this new era of technological influence. New questions arise and situations that were not imaginable in our daily lives then emerge.
We as DT also want to develop and make use of AI. This technology can bring many benefits based on improving customer experience or simplicity. We are already in the game, e.g having several AI related projects running. With these comes an increase of digital responsibility on our side to ensure that AI is utilized in an ethical manner. So we as DT have to give answers to our customers, shareholders and stakeholders.
The following Digital Ethics guidelines state how we as Deutsche Telekom want to build the future with AI. For us, technology serves one main purpose: It must act supportingly. Thus AI is in any case supposed to extend and complement human abilities rather than lessen them.
Remark: The impact of AI on DT jobs – may it as a benefit and for value creation in the sense of job enrichment and enlargement or may it in the sense of efficiency is however not focus of these guidelines.
9. We share and enlighten.
We acknowledge the transformative power of AI for our society. We will support people and society in preparing for this future world. We live our digital responsibility by sharing our knowledge, pointing out the opportunities of the new technology without neglecting its risks. We will engage with our customers, other companies, policy makers, education institutions and all other stakeholders to ensure we understand their concerns and needs and can setup the right safeguards. We will engage in AI and ethics education. Hereby preparing ourselves, our colleagues and our fellow human beings for the new tasks ahead.
Many tasks that are being executed by humans now will be automated in the future. This leads to a shift in the demand of skills. Jobs will be reshaped, rather replaced by AI. While this seems certain, the minority knows what exactly AI technology is capable of achieving. Prejudice and sciolism lead to either demonization of progress or to blind acknowledgment, both calling for educational work. We as Deutsche Telekom feel responsible to enlighten people and help society to deal with the digital shift, so that new appropriate skills can be developed and new jobs can be taken over. And we start from within – by enabling our colleagues and employees. But we are aware that this task cannot be solved by one company alone. Therefore we will engage in partnerships with other companies, offer our know how to policy makers and education providers to jointly tackle the challenges ahead.
AI has arrived, and it is a technology that has the potential to change the world as we know it so far.
It is technology that, with its development has the ability to generate an infinite amount of benefits and improve the quality of life of humanity. Similarly, AI opens the way to risky situations and raises questions about their use and their effects. At this point, it appears necessary to incorporate the ethical dimension to illuminate the development of AI, and make distinctions of its correct or incorrect use.
At IA Latam, we collaboratively understand the creation of ethical criteria of self adherence that help us and guide all of us to follow the best possible path, always having as a north a better planet for the new generations.
As the technologies advance, the ethical ramifications will be more relevant, where the conversation is no longer based on a "fulfill" but rather on a "we are doing the right thing and getting better". For this reason, in IA LATAM we present below our first Declaration of Ethical Principles for Latin American AI that we hope will be a starting point and a great help for all.
1. The purpose of AI is to augment human intelligence
The purpose of AI and cognitive systems developed and applied by IBM is to augment – not replace – human intelligence. Our technology is and will be designed to enhance and extend human capability and potential. At IBM, we believe AI should make ALL of us better at our jobs, and that the benefits of the AI era should touch the many, not just the elite few. To that end, we are investing in initiatives to help the global workforce gain the skills needed to work in partnership with these technologies.
3. Reward AI for ‘showing its workings’
Any AI system learning from bad examples could end up becoming socially inappropriate – we have to remember that most AI today has no cognition of what it is saying. Only broad listening and learning from diverse data sets will solve for this.
One of the approaches is to develop a reward mechanism when training AI. Reinforcement learning measures should be built not just based on what AI or robots do to achieve an outcome, but also on how AI and robots align with human values to accomplish that particular result.