SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) today announced its guiding principles for artificial intelligence (AI) and its creation of an external AI ethics advisory panel – the first European technology company to do so. The panel, comprised of experts from academia, politics and industry, will ensure the adoption of the principles and further develop them in collaboration with the AI steering committee at SAP, a group of SAP executives from development, strategy and human resources. The new guidelines, the external panel and the internal committee aim to ensure that the AI capabilities supported by SAP Leonardo Machine Learning capabilities are used to maintain integrity and trust in all solutions. As the market leader in enterprise technology that touches 77 percent of the world's transaction revenue and serves more than 400,000 customers worldwide, SAP solutions and applications impact the lives of billions of people daily. "SAP considers the ethical use of data a core value," said Luka Mucic, chief financial officer and member of the Executive Board of SAP Se. "We want to create software that enables the intelligent enterprise and actually improves people's lives.
SAP has released its guiding principles for artificial intelligence (AI). Recognizing the significant impact of AI on people, our customers, and wider society, SAP designed these guiding principles to steer the development and deployment of our AI software to help the world run better and improve people's lives. For us, these guidelines are a commitment to move beyond what is legally required and to begin a deep and continuous engagement with the wider ethical and socioeconomic challenges of AI. We look forward to expanding our conversations with customers, partners, employees, legislative bodies, and civil society; and to making our guiding principles an evolving reflection on these discussions and the ever-changing technological landscape. We recognize that, like with any technology, there is scope for AI to be used in ways that are not aligned with these guiding principles and the operational guidelines we are developing.
The AI revolution has the promise to unlock boundless potential for businesses: from better products and services, to faster innovation and unimaginable leaps in productivity. But, like all great technological advancements, AI also has the potential to create numerous economic, political and social challenges, depending upon how it is used and implemented. Because of that, the use of AI technology needs to be governed by clear rules of ethics -- defined at the outset of this new era, instead of later on, when abuses or ill-considered practices could be far more difficult to control. This is not the first time society has been at a crossroads where we face new technological powers that can serve great and worthy purposes or be abused to support some very bad ones. Yet one thing is clear and remains in our power: artificial intelligence, will never substitute for human wisdom or moral responsibility.
While SAP is a front runner among global companies addressing the ethics around artificial intelligence (AI), there is still plenty to learn. In September 2018, SAP released guidelines for the ethical use of AI, which declare, for instance, that AI built by SAP shall be human centered, guarantee transparency, and keep data secure. While SAP was the first company in Europe to put such initiatives in place, many other large enterprises, including Microsoft and IBM, have taken similar steps toward ethical AI. With no globally recognized norms or policies in place yet, SAP has emerged as a leading voice in the global conversation. Noga explains the mandate he sees for SAP: "Not only should our own AI be subject to ethical requirements, but we also want to help our customers to build and use AI ethically. Moreover, we aim to contribute our expertise to the discussions taking place at a global level."
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a technology which is increasingly being utilised in society and the economy worldwide, and its implementation is planned to become more prevalent in coming years. AI is increasingly being embedded in our lives, supplementing our pervasive use of digital technologies. But this is being accompanied by disquiet over problematic and dangerous implementations of AI, or indeed, even AI itself deciding to do dangerous and problematic actions, especially in fields such as the military, medicine and criminal justice. These developments have led to concerns about whether and how AI systems adhere, and will adhere to ethical standards. These concerns have stimulated a global conversation on AI ethics, and have resulted in various actors from different countries and sectors issuing ethics and governance initiatives and guidelines for AI. Such developments form the basis for our research in this report, combining our international and interdisciplinary expertise to give an insight into what is happening in Australia, China, Europe, India and the US.