Business transformation needs human-centric AI

Dr. Todd Law, Business Development Manager at Fujitsu Intelligence Technology, PhD in Artificial Intelligence

While Vancouver is mostly known for its stunning natural setting and proximity to great skiing, it has also become a centre for business innovation, be it in technology, films, or yoga wear.  Almost every other day, I’m inspired by fellow Vancouverites who are full of creativity, entrepreneurial spirit, and a passion to re-invent.  This spirit of re-invention extends to business transformation, where AI is the latest wave of opportunity.  But as these business innovation leaders warm up to AI and gradually understand the technology, they will realize there are important choices to be made.

First, leaders should choose to focus on business outcomes, and not adopt technology for technology’s sake.  This might appear obvious to most, but it deserves re-enforcement, as I occasionally see this advice being ignored.

Second, business leaders should apply AI technology in a way that upholds the organization’s values.  In the end, business is certainly about humans in the form of customers, employees, or other stakeholders.  It is for this reason that Fujitsu has adopted a human-centric approach to AI, which has been expressed in Fujitsu’s Group AI Commitment, and is described as follows:

·       Human-centric AI stipulates that people should not be treated as a means to an end by AI, but rather the benefactors of AI.  In practice, this means that AI should not be used, for example, to manipulate voters in an election, but rather perhaps to inform and facilitate

·       Accordingly, human-centric AI requires respect for diversity and inclusiveness.   This means using AI without bias towards race, age, gender, and so on.  Fujitsu backs this up with Wide Learning, where deep learning hypotheses are explicit, and bias can therefore be detected and removed.

·       Moreover, human-centric AI stresses that AI tools support people’s desire for prosperity.  Successful use of AI in business rewards a company’s customers, employees and shareholders.  Fujitsu has enabled hundreds of customers to derive successful business outcomes using AI.

·       Likewise, human-centric AI should be explainable, transparent, and safe.  Again, Fujitsu demonstrates its commitment to these ideals through such projects as Deep Tensor, which add explainability to deep learning networks.

·       Finally, AI can and should be utilized to contribute to society.  Fujitsu lives and breathes this belief through many projects which protect endangered species, predict river flooding, and reduce CO2 emissions from ships. This last point probably strikes a chord for most Vancouverites, who think about the environment, and what we can do about it, pretty much every day. Through these projects and others, Fujitsu walks the sustainability talk, and consequently has been named to the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index for 20 years in a row.

Human-centric AI is also well aligned with the Canadian government’s five guiding principles, for the responsible use of artificial intelligence.  Those principles include understandability, transparency, explainability, open-ness, and training for government employees who are stakeholders in AI applications.  Likewise, the European Union has recently published draft guidelines for ethical AI, where a human-centric approach AI figures prominently.

Bringing the discussion back to Vancouver, the leaders who are innovating and transforming business should make a conscious choice to embrace AI with a human-centric approach – an approach which begins and ends with people.  Want to learn more?  E-mail us at fitl.digital@fujitsu.com .