Why The Future Of Artificial Intelligence Needs Clear Rules And Guidelines

Jennifer Morgan

The AI revolution has the promise to unlock boundless potential for businesses: from better products and services to faster innovation and unimaginable leaps in productivity.

But like all great technological advancements, AI also has the potential to create numerous economic, political and social challenges, depending upon how it is used and implemented. Because of that, the use of AI technology needs to be governed by clear rules of ethics – defined at the outset of this new era, instead of later on, when abuses or ill-considered practices could be far more difficult to control.

This is not the first time society has been at a crossroads where we face new technological powers that can serve great and worthy purposes or be abused to support some very bad ones. Yet one thing is clear and remains in our power: Artificial intelligence will never be a substitute for human wisdom or for moral responsibility.

Technology companies around the world have started to take responsibility for ethical challenges related to AI. Not least because today’s tech giants affect the lives of billions of people daily and have great influence on the economy, politics, and culture. Not long ago, SAP announced its own guiding principles for the uses of AI to avoid possible misuses in every area – from labor management to data protection.

In all practices employing AI,  companies need to adhere to established laws and regulations like the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Documents like this pay special attention, as they should, to the potential impact all new technologies could have on jobs.  And it’s a safe assumption that AI will follow the familiar pattern of creating new types of work at the expense of traditional ones. It’s all the more important, therefore, that companies not be passive as these changes unfold, relentlessly adopting technologies without regard for their impact on workers or society.

As AI is just emerging, companies’ current efforts are just a starting point.  As large and resourceful as we all are, we don’t have all the answers. In addressing the topic of AI ethics, we invite the best ideas of everyone on our team. From development, strategy, human resources, and other departments to ensure we keep pace with the dramatic changes to come. Clear, bright lines of ethics, far from hindering AI and ML, will be essential to success.  As with every new power we gain from technology, what matters most is that technology serves humanity—not the other way around.

Learn more about SAP’s guiding principles for artificial intelligence (AI).

Jennifer Morgan

About Jennifer Morgan

Jennifer Morgan is responsible for SAP’s strategy, revenue, and customer success in the Americas and Asia Pacific Japan, regions encompassing more than 43,000 employees and nearly 230,000 customers. Jennifer was appointed to the SAP Executive Board in 2017, and, together with Adaire Fox-Martin, leads SAP’s Global Customer Operations. She is a principal driver of SAP’s growth and innovation strategies and works closely with SAP’s development and support leaders to ensure consistent execution of sales and customer operations in the more than 130 countries in which the company operates. In addition to being a member of the Executive Board, Jennifer serves as president of SAP North America, where she has sharpened the region’s focus on growth and innovation for its more than 155,000 customers, and helps preserve a culture that earned SAP North America its first ever listing on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For. Jennifer was also instrumental in the region securing its place as a leader in the areas of diversity and inclusion through programs like Autism at Work, and particularly the company’s receipt of EDGE certification – a recognition awarded by the World Economic Forum recognizing the company’s commitment to gender equality and equal pay in the workplace.