IBM at VivaTech 2018: Ethical principles for a new era

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Last week, IBM joined several giants of the global tech industry in Paris for Viva Technology 2018. The main stage for this fast-growing event was populated by visionary leaders like French President Emmanuel Macron and IBM’s own Chairman, President, and CEO, Ginni Rometty.

As VivaTech kicked off, there was no shortage of fascinating events, demos, announcements, and keynotes, but Ginni’s timely speech on ethics and technology struck a chord with the audience. Here are some of the most important takeaways from her much-anticipated keynote: Achieving Exponential Learning: AI in the era of responsible tech.

IBM’s Principles for Trust and Transparency

Data is the greatest opportunity of our time, but it’s also our greatest challenge. We can only reap the benefits of exponential learning if there’s trust. In this spirit, Ginni invited companies around the world to adopt IBM’s Principles for Trust and Transparency:

1. 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’re investing in initiatives to help the global workforce gain the necessary skills to work in partnership with these technologies.

2. 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. Full stop. End of story.

3. AI systems must be transparent and explainable
For the public to trust AI, it must be transparent. Technology companies have to 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 information is key to ensuring that 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 datasets that their systems interact with.

Learn more about these trust and transparency principles and why 95% of Fortune 500 companies trust IBM with their data.

Building the bank of tomorrow

You don’t have to look far for examples of companies placing their trust IBM. At VivaTech, Crédit Mutuel announced a sweeping digital reinvention, partnering with IBM to devise new ways of better serving the bank’s 12 million customers. As part of a bold strategy to embed AI solutions in most of its banking and insurance businesses, Crédit Mutuel will now deploy IBM Watson across all of its business lines — Consumer Credit, Personal Protection, Health, Payment Instruments, and Risk and Compliance. And for its next wave of transformation, Crédit Mutuel will combine multiple technologies from IBM — IBM Cloud, Security, and Watson — to reimagine partner relationships and operations. Check out the press release to learn more about this groundbreaking partnership with Crédit Mutuel.

Technology for social good

AI offers incredible opportunities to drive widespread economic and social progress. Based on the vision that AI ought to be a force for good, IBM, the International Red Cross, and the United Nations announced Call for Code — an annual global initiative for which IBM pledged $30M. Call for Code invites developers to apply technologies like AI, blockchain, quantum, and IoT to address society’s toughest challenges. This year’s challenge is aimed at creating technology-led solutions to mitigate the impact of natural disasters.

Re-skilling and the future of work

AI is going to transform every job, every profession, every industry, and every country. IBM’s belief is that the purpose of AI is to augment man, not replace it. But given that 100% of jobs will most certainly change, the challenge is to ensure that people have the skills required for this new era so no one is left behind. This new era of exponential learning is already creating countless opportunities for “new collar jobs,” where having specific, in-demand technology skills matters more than having a traditional bachelor’s degree. That’s why IBM is reinventing secondary education with its Pathways in Technology Early College High Schools program — or P-TECH.

Ginni Rometty concluded her remarks by quoting one of France’s greatest scientists, Marie Curie, whose words are as relevant now at the dawn of AI as they were when she said them long ago: “Rien dans la vie n’est à craindre, tout doit être compris,” or “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.”


Watch Ginni’s keynote and learn more about IBM at VivaTech 2018.

Watch the keynote

Narrative Developer, IBM CHQ, Communications

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