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IBM To Industry: We Must All Commit to Responsible AI and Data Practices

At VivaTech, Ginni Rometty invites other companies to adopt IBM’s Principles for Trust and Transparency

Today in a keynote at the VivaTech conference, IBM Chairman, President and CEO Ginni Rometty called on technology companies to adopt principles to protect client data and insights, and ensure the responsible and transparent use of artificial intelligence and other new technologies.

“Every organization that develops or uses AI, or hosts or processes data, must do so responsibly and transparently. Companies are being judged not just by how we use data, but by whether we are trusted stewards of other people’s data,” Rometty said. “Society will decide which companies it trusts.”

Rometty underscored IBM’s Principles for Trust and Transparency, which enumerate the company’s decades-long approach to handling its clients’ data and insights. These Trust Principles have guided the responsible development and deployment of IBM’s new technologies, such as its own Watson AI. The principles include:

  • The purpose of AI is to augment human intelligence: AI systems should be designed to work with humans and expand the potential of everyone. AI should make us all better at our jobs. At IBM, we are investing in initiatives to help the global workforce gain the skills needed to work in partnership with these technologies.
  • Data and insights belong to their creators: IBM clients’ data is their data, and their insights are their insights. Client data and the insights produced on IBM’s cloud or from IBM’s AI are owned by IBM’s clients.
  • AI systems must be transparent and explainable: For the public to trust AI, it must be transparent. Technology companies must be clear about who trains their AI systems, what data was used to train those systems and, most importantly, what went into their algorithms’ recommendations. This is key to ensuring people understand how AI arrives at a conclusion or recommendation. Companies advancing AI also have an obligation to monitor for, and correct, bias in the algorithms themselves, as well as bias caused by the human-influenced data sets their systems interact with.

By adhering to these Trust Principles, businesses will not only better prepare their organizations for new regulatory frameworks – such as Europe’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) that take effect tomorrow – but will also help accelerate the advancement of new technologies by securing public trust, Rometty said.

Longtime Leader in Data Responsibility and Trust

IBM’s Trust Principles reflect the company’s longstanding position as the world’s largest steward of enterprise data, and as a leader in developing and deploying AI.

IBM is entrusted with “mission critical” work by major enterprises around the world. In fact, 95 percent of Fortune 500 companies today entrust IBM with their data. IBM also enables millions of developers inside and outside these companies to connect with each other through IBM’s Cloud and AI platform.

“For more than 100 years, clients have trusted IBM,” Rometty said. “Today, I invite others in the tech world to adopt the values outlined in IBM’s Trust Principles. These are values that have served us, and our clients, well from era to era.”