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BMW launches a code of ethics for AI

by Chuck Martin
Article ImageThe company's recipe for better AI applications

The BMW Group has issued a code of ethics for artificial intelligence applications, comprising seven basic principles for the use of AI within the company.

This follows the broad use of AI throughout BMW and aligns with the fundamental requirements for trustworthy AI outlined by the EU in April last year.

“Artificial intelligence is the key technology in the process of digital transformation,” said Michael Würtenberger, the head of Project AI at BMW Group. “But for us the focus remains on people. AI supports our employees and improves the customer experience.”

Aiming high

The seven principles are intended to cover the development and application of AI within the BMW Group:

  • Human agency and oversight, to assure human monitoring of decisions made by AI application with the ability for humans to overrule decisions made by algorithms;

  • Technical robustness and safety, so AI applications observe relevant safety standards to lower the risk of unintended consequences;

  • Privacy and data governance, extending BMW’s data privacy and data security measures to AI applications involving storage and processing;

  • Transparency, to ensure that AI applications can be explained, with open communications related to technologies used;

  • Diversity, non-discrimination, and fairness, for the intent of building AI applications that are fair while preventing non-compliance;

  • Environmental and societal well-being, committing to creating AI applications that promote the well-being of customers, partners, and employees;

  • Accountability, to ensure that all AI applications work responsibly by identifying, assessing, and reporting risks related to good corporate governance.

BMW has been using AI in numerous parts of its value chain. Back in 2006, the group started using AI to systematically process energy-related data at its locations around the world to identify energy consumption patterns, enabling buildings to be heated and cooled more intelligently. Since 2018, BMW has been employing automated image recognition to evaluate component images in ongoing production.

“We are proceeding purposefully and with caution in the expansion of AI applications within the company,” Würtenberge said. “The seven principles for AI at the BMW Group provide the basis for our approach.”

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