Focused on People:

Telefónica Deutschland subscribes to six ethical principles regarding artificial intelligence

"The Telefónica Group has declared worldwide that it will only use artificial intelligence in accordance with explicitly formulated ethical principles", said Telefónica Deutschland CEO Markus Haas at the Telefónica BASECAMP in Berlin on 13 February 2019. Telefónica Deutschland has interpreted these principles for the local market. They are intended to give the company direction when it is working with data and artificial intelligence, thereby supporting the positive impact of technology on society. Artificial intelligence (AI) is a key element in the digitalisation process in Germany. This was recently underscored by the AI strategy adopted by the German government. People and organisations rely on AI to process large volumes of data on the basis of complex algorithms in order to enhance decision-making and realise automation solutions. There is a wide variety of examples that illustrate how AI leads to improvements in the economic and societal situation. These include improved medical diagnoses, driver assistance systems, optimised supply chains and disaster relief support. Everyday applications, like smartphone speech-to-text functionality and intelligent thermostats, also employ AI to some extent.

Telecommunications firms bear great responsibility

Credits: Telefónica Deutschland
Valentina Daiber
As a telecommunications enterprise, we are involved in this development and are, in fact, at the core of it. After all, we not only enable digital applications, we also use algorithms and artificial intelligence ourselves – for instance, for the optimisation of our mobile network – in the form of the digital assistant Aura or for data analyses for traffic planning. Accordingly, we bear great responsibility towards the economy and society. Telefónica has thus declared that the company will exclusively utilise artificial intelligence in accordance with explicitly formulated ethical principles. These are standards for our company, but also must be observed by our business partners and suppliers as well. These principles are additionally intended to stimulate public discourse. They are an integral part of our Responsible Business Plan. "The ethical principles we have adopted on the use of artificial intelligence place the focus on people. At Telefónica Deutschland we will apply these ethical principles in artificial intelligence projects”, insists Valentina Daiber, Chief Officer for Legal and Corporate Affairs at Telefónica Deutschland.

Six principles of ethics for the use of artificial intelligence

I. “Fair and accessible to all – digitalisation is non-exclusionary”.
II. “AI should serve society. We will only be able to overcome the prevailing scepticism within society if artificial intelligence delivers concrete personal advantages”.
III. “Not everything that is possible is morally legitimate – boundaries must be set for artificial intelligence”.
IV. "The use of data needs to be transparent and these data have to be protected".
V. “Data stemming from partnerships with third parties must be able to pass checks”.
VI. “Human beings must remain the ultimate instance of ethical judgement”.