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.
2. Data Governance
Published by: The European Commission’s High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence in Draft Ethics Guidelines for Trustworthy AI
The quality of the data sets used is paramount for the performance of the trained machine learning solutions. Even if the data is handled in a privacy preserving way, there are requirements that have to be fulfilled in order to have high quality AI. The datasets gathered inevitably contain biases, and one has to be able to prune these away before engaging in training. This may also be done in the training itself by requiring a symmetric behaviour over known issues in the training set.
In addition, it must be ensured that the proper division of the data which is being set into training, as well as validation and testing of those sets, is carefully conducted in order to achieve a realistic picture of the performance of the AI system. It must particularly be ensured that anonymisation of the data is done in a way that enables the division of the data into sets to make sure that a certain data – for instance, images from same persons – do not end up into both the training and test sets, as this would disqualify the latter.
The integrity of the data gathering has to be ensured. Feeding malicious data into the system may change the behaviour of the AI solutions. This is especially important for self learning systems. It is therefore advisable to always keep record of the data that is fed to the AI systems. When data is gathered from human behaviour, it may contain misjudgement, errors and mistakes. In large enough data sets these will be diluted since correct actions usually overrun the errors, yet a trace of thereof remains in the data.
To trust the data gathering process, it must be ensured that such data will not be used against the individuals who provided the data. Instead, the findings of bias should be used to look forward and lead to better processes and instructions – improving our decisions making and strengthening our institutions.
2. Transparent and explainable AI
We will be explicit about the kind of personal and or non personal data the AI systems uses as well as about the purpose the data is used for. When people directly interact with an AI system, we will be transparent to the users that this is the case.
When AI systems take, or support, decisions we take the technical and organizational measures required to guarantee a level of understanding adequate to the application area. In any case, if the decisions significantly affect people's lives, we will ensure we understand the logic behind the conclusions. This will also apply when we use third party technology.
1. Right to Transparency.
Published by: The Public Voice coalition, established by Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) in Universal Guidelines for Artificial Intelligence
All individuals have the right to know the basis of an AI decision that concerns them. This includes access to the factors, the logic, and techniques that produced the outcome.
The elements of the Transparency Principle can be found in several modern privacy laws, including the US Privacy Act, the EU Data Protection Directive, the GDPR, and the Council of Europe Convention 108. The aim of this principle is to enable independent accountability for automated decisions, with a primary emphasis on the right of the individual to know the basis of an adverse determination. In practical terms, it may not be possible for an individual to interpret the basis of a particular decision, but this does not obviate the need to ensure that such an explanation is possible.
1. Demand That AI Systems Are Transparent
A transparent artificial intelligence system is one in which it is possible to discover how, and why, the system made a decision, or in the case of a robot, acted the way it did.
A. We stress that open source code is neither necessary nor sufficient for transparency – clarity cannot be obfuscated by complexity.
B. For users, transparency is important because it builds trust in, and understanding of, the system, by providing a simple way for the user to understand what the system is doing and why.
C. For validation and certification of an AI system, transparency is important because it exposes the system’s processes for scrutiny.
D. If accidents occur, the AI will need to be transparent and accountable to an accident investigator, so the internal process that led to the accident can be understood.
E. Workers must have the right to demand transparency in the decisions and outcomes of AI systems as well as the underlying algorithms (see principle 4 below). This includes the right to appeal decisions made by AI algorithms, and having it reviewed by a human being.
F. Workers must be consulted on AI systems’ implementation, development and deployment.
G. Following an accident, judges, juries, lawyers, and expert witnesses involved in the trial process require transparency and accountability to inform evidence and decision making.
The principle of transparency is a prerequisite for ascertaining that the remaining principles are observed.
See Principle 2 below for operational solution.