While SAP is a front runner among global companies addressing the ethics around artificial intelligence (AI), there is still plenty to learn.

In September 2018, SAP released guidelines for the ethical use of AI, which declare, for instance, that AI built by SAP shall be human centered, guarantee transparency, and keep data secure.

While SAP was the first company in Europe to put such initiatives in place, many other large enterprises, including Microsoft and IBM, have taken similar steps toward ethical AI. With no globally recognized norms or policies in place yet, SAP has emerged as a leading voice in the global conversation.

Markus Noga is head of SAP Cloud Platform Business Services, which includes AI, as well as a member of the steering committee,

Noga explains the mandate he sees for SAP: “Not only should our own AI be subject to ethical requirements, but we also want to help our customers to build and use AI ethically. Moreover, we aim to contribute our expertise to the discussions taking place at a global level.”

According to a November 2018 study by consulting firm McKinsey, nearly half of enterprises have already adopted AI while another 30 percent are currently running pilot AI projects for future deployment. A further 44 percent plan to look to providers like SAP for a majority of their AI needs.

In the public discourse, AI can be a controversial topic. When machines make decisions that affect the lives of human beings, it is a sure bet that some of the people affected will disagree. That leads to more complex questions with which SAP will have to grapple: How can those that develop and sell autonomous systems ensure that both the creator and the customer can feel moral confidence in an AI’s decisions?…

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