German software firm SAP on Tuesday published what it called guiding principles for artificial intelligence. With the trend towards greater integration of AI into the society, the company said it designed the principles steer the development and deployment of their AI software to “help the world run better and improve people’s lives.”
The guidelines go beyond the legally required to also embrace the ethical and socioeconomic aspects of artificial intelligence.
SAP recognized the tendency and temptation to steer away from the initial scope of AI to other uses not aligned with any guiding principle or operational guidelines the firm was developing.
The company took its inspiration from the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, laws, and widely accepted international norms. SAP also stated it would endeavor to prevent the inappropriate use of its technology where there is a conflict with its guiding principles.
The ethical considerations of artificial intelligence remain a burning issue with questions regarding how far is too far. Reports on the development of killer drones configured to make decisions to bomb or kill preprogrammed targets without human input make the case for enforceable laws, or at least, operational guidelines.
There is also the issue of bias, preprogrammed into these AI systems, which SAP addressed in a prepared statement.
“Bias can negatively impact AI software and, in turn, individuals and our customers. This is particularly the case when there is a risk of causing discrimination or of unjustly impacting underrepresented groups. We, therefore, require our technical teams to gain a deep understanding of the business problems they are trying to solve, and the data quality this demands. We seek to increase the diversity and interdisciplinarity of our teams, and we are investigating new technical methods for mitigating biases.”