It’s Time to Talk About AI Ethics

“Ethics is knowing the difference between what you have a right to do and what is right to do.”

Expressed with such clarity by former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, this statement is especially relevant today as we consider the power of artificial intelligence (AI) and its potential impact on people’s lives.

As a company intensely focused on developing new AI-fueled applications, at Genesys we understand this technology comes with tremendous responsibility as well as tremendous potential.

While the full capabilities of AI have not yet been realized, we need to proceed thoughtfully. Businesses are furiously conceiving ways this intelligent technology can be used to solve everyday challenges, make life simpler and create efficiencies in ways previously unimagined. Its potential seems without limits, which is why we must also consider its effects on society. As with so many other things in life – just because we can do something, doesn’t mean we should.

This leads us to why we believe it’s important to acknowledge the significant role Genesys technology plays in consumers’ lives. While we may not be a household brand, our systems are running in the backgrounds of thousands of companies around the globe, helping millions of consumers every day as they interact with these businesses in ongoing customer relationships.

Our customers use Genesys technology to process massive amounts of consumer data every day. This can include the type of data consumers expect organizations to have, such as names, addresses and preferred contact methods. And, it also includes more intimate information like our location, behavior patterns, voice characteristics, demographics, emotional state, family relationships, devices we use and much, much more.

This data is used to feed Genesys AI algorithms and is what enables businesses to deliver the most tailored and predictive customer service experiences today.

The Genesys Five-Point Guide to AI Ethics

We think it’s critically important that consumers are aware of and given a choice about the technology that impacts their privacy, safety and even equality. In addition, we believe organizations that develop AI solutions should steer an ethical path through what they create.

With this in mind, we have formed a cross-functional AI Ethics Committee composed of representatives from our Executive, Product Management, Engineering, Human Resources, Communications, and Legal teams.

Our goal is for Genesys to lead an industry conversation about how companies can and should use AI. One way we will accomplish this is by initiating a series of debates and dialogs, both private and public, with our entire ecosystem of customers, partners, industry thought leaders and more over the next year.

In addition, I am excited to share our initial rollout of the Genesys AI Ethics Guidelines, which will serve as the North Star for our future AI development strategy. We fully expect these preliminary guidelines to continually evolve as AI matures, Genesys capabilities expand, and our community of partners and customers contribute to the conversation.

The five elements of our guidelines are:

  • Transparency

Customers should be informed when they are conversing with an AI bot.

  • Fairness

Businesses should take steps to ensure their AI systems do not introduce bias against race, ethnicity, gender, nationality, sexual orientation, ability, etc.

  • Accountability

Organizations are ultimately responsible for the AI systems they create and the systems created by their AI. (i.e., businesses are responsible even if their bots build something harmful).

  • Data Protection

AI must not be used to diminish the data rights or privacy of individuals or communities.

  • Social Benefit

Genesys is committed to social benefit through the thoughtful use of AI.

We will call this initiative a success at Genesys when we feel that we have engaged our entire ecosystem. Over the next several months, please follow our progress and stay up to date on the conversation. To learn more about AI ethics in customer service, check out our resources and AI guidelines.