Positive utilization of AI means that many social systems will be automated, and the safety of the systems will be improved. On the other hand, within the scope of today's technologies, it is impossible for AI to respond appropriately to rare events or deliberate attacks. Therefore, there is a new security risk for the use of AI. Society should always be aware of the balance of benefits and risks, and should work to improve social safety and sustainability as a whole.
Society must promote broad and deep research and development in AI (from immediate measures to deep understanding), such as the proper evaluation of risks in the utilization of AI and research to reduce risks. Society must also pay attention to risk management, including cybersecurity awareness.
Society should always pay attention to sustainability in the use of AI. Society should not, in particular, be uniquely dependent on single AI or a few specified AI.
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.
(d) Justice, equity, and solidarity
AI should contribute to global justice and equal access to the benefits and advantages that AI, robotics and ‘autonomous’ systems can bring. Discriminatory biases in data sets used to train and run AI systems should be prevented or detected, reported and neutralised at the earliest stage possible.
We need a concerted global effort towards equal access to ‘autonomous’ technologies and fair distribution of benefits and equal opportunities across and within societies. This includes the formulating of new models of fair distribution and benefit sharing apt to respond to the economic transformations caused by automation, digitalisation and AI, ensuring accessibility to core AI technologies, and facilitating training in STEM and digital disciplines, particularly with respect to disadvantaged regions and societal groups. Vigilance is required with respect to the downside of the detailed and massive data on individuals that accumulates and that will put pressure on the idea of solidarity, e.g. systems of mutual assistance such as in social insurance and healthcare. These processes may undermine social cohesion and give rise to radical individualism.
AI Applications We Will Not Pursue
In addition to the above objectives, we will not design or deploy AI in the following application areas:
1. Technologies that cause or are likely to cause overall harm. Where there is a material risk of harm, we will proceed only where we believe that the benefits substantially outweigh the risks, and will incorporate appropriate safety constraints.
2. Weapons or other technologies whose principal purpose or implementation is to cause or directly facilitate injury to people.
3. Technologies that gather or use information for surveillance violating internationally accepted norms.
4. Technologies whose purpose contravenes widely accepted principles of international law and human rights.
As our experience in this space deepens, this list may evolve.