April 11, 2024 By Christina Montgomery 3 min read

The introduction of generative AI (gen AI) has quickly raised new questions and challenges across the global marketplace. At IBM, our principles of trust and transparency serve as a foundation to help our clients address these challenges head-on, and through our work with policymakers, researchers, clients and other stakeholders, we continue to meet these challenges and develop technological and policy safeguards. 

We are working hard to set an example of how to implement and maintain responsible technology, as we have for over a century. Because of this expertise, IBM is uniquely positioned to function as a “living lab,” continually improving the technology we bring to the market that helps businesses and governments use and deploy artificial intelligence (AI) responsibly. IBM has implemented an Integrated Governance Program to drive a continuous compliance approach to address the ever-changing regulatory environment, which was subsequently used in the creation of the IBM® Granite™ foundation model series. 

Addressing future needs with principles and ethics 

It is true that innovation often moves too fast for everyone to keep up. However, this is the best moment to define and build the right strategies to protect people and their interests. We are at a critical juncture in the development of technologies such as gen AI, which has raised important questions. IBM has extensive experience in ushering responsible technology in both business and research areas, and we work to maintain trust as society explores the opportunities presented by these transformative technologies, always guided by our continued commitment to ethics. 

At the center of our responsible technology efforts is our AI Ethics Board, which infuses our principles into business practices and product decision-making. In addition to supporting our principles, the board shares thought leadership around emerging issues and technology that help IBM serve as a leader and innovation driver in this important, evolving field of gen AI. This direction resulted in significant milestones last year, such as the release of IBM® watsonx.governance™ to accelerate responsible AI workflows, and the creation of the AI Alliance, an international community focused on advancing open, safe and responsible AI.  

Our internal efforts are well-aligned with the AI ethics approach we promote externally, understanding that the purpose of AI is to augment human intelligence, that data and insights belong to their creator, and that technology must be transparent and explainable. All of this is underpinned by our principles of explainability, fairness, robustness, transparency and privacy. 

As we continually work to maintain the trust of our clients and society by bringing powerful new technologies into the world responsibly, and with a clear purpose, we know that our mission also extends into the work with our suppliers to amplify our impact even further. Beyond our workforce, we are making progress on the goal we announced in 2023 to train 1,000 technology suppliers in technology ethics by 2025, with more than 600 IBM suppliers trained at the end of 2023. 

Finally, we round out this work by using our experience and expertise to successfully adapt to new eras of digital transformation. As an organization, we are committed to developing policies and practices that also prioritize the responsible stewardship of data entrusted to us by our clients, including the role data plays in developing robust and trustworthy AI models. We also implement a multi-faceted risk management approach to identify and address cybersecurity risks protecting the integrity of IBM networks, user devices, servers, applications, data and cloud solutions. 

IBM has strong guiding pillars 

Having the credibility to advocate for AI ethics also starts with having strong, holistic pillars from corporate governance to training employees in ethics. At IBM, we aspire to create innovations, policies and practices that prioritize ethics, trust, transparency and accountability. However, all this work is only possible because of a strong baseline and pillars of integrity in our processes, decisions and operations.

  • Corporate governance and board: Setting the tone from the top with effective leadership and strong corporate governance, the IBM Board is composed of a diverse group of members, all leaders in their respective fields, with experience at national and international organizations, who collaboratively contribute significant experience in the areas most relevant to overseeing our business and strategy. 
  • Risk management: IBM maintains a comprehensive approach to enterprise risk management that is designed to identify, mitigate and manage significant risks and align with recognized standards. We assess risks across the organization to maintain an enterprise-level view of risks arising from regulatory, financial and geopolitical environments, as well as from our operations, strategic planning and execution. It also considers environmental and climate-related issues and includes an evaluation of ESG and climate-related risks. 
  • Our business conduct guidelines (BCGs): Last year, IBMers were trained on our BCGs to make sure we keep doing business with the highest integrity. We conduct training on critical topics that address real-world ethical dilemmas that employees might encounter at work. In addition, IBM Trust and Compliance conducts extensive in-person and virtual training on public procurement, business amenities, anti-corruption, speaking up and non-retaliation, gatekeeper responsibility and fraud prevention matters.  

These are just some examples of how IBM is working to make an ethical impact by leveraging technology.

Learn more about this and other initiatives in our 2023 IBM Impact Report

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