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sage shares core principles for designing ai for business

Sage shares core principles for designing AI for business

‘The Ethics of Code: Developing AI for Business with Five Core Principles’ published to provide guiderails for creating ethical and responsible AI for business users

Toronto, Canada, June 27, 2017 – Sage, a market leader in cloud accounting software today called on the global tech community to take responsibility for the ethical development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for business. Live on stage at Sage Summit Canada, Kriti Sharma, Sage VP of AI and Bots, shared ‘The Ethics of Code: Developing AI for Business with Five Core Principles,’ a set of values Sage recommends the tech community should focus on as we embark on the 4th industrial revolution.

In its own products, Sage is developing machine learning and AI which is specifically designed to reduce financial admin for business builders, from start-ups to enterprise. It quickly became clear that when AI is used for set, repetitive tasks - for example, accounting – it has the potential to significantly reduce admin and provide an excellent user experience
Sharma talked live on stage at Sage Summit Toronto to over 1,000 Sage customers and business partners about the ‘Ethics of Code,’ which are a set of values Sage developed as it built the world’s first accounting chat bot, Pegg.  Sage proposes other companies utilize these values to ensure that their approach to building AI is both ethical and responsible to protect the future business consumers of this emerging technology.

 ‘The Ethics of Code: Developing AI for Business with Five Core Principles’ (read full version)

  1. AI should reflect the diversity of the users it serves
    Both industry and community must develop effective mechanisms to filter bias as well as negative sentiment in the data that AI learns from – ensuring AI does not perpetuate stereotypes.
  2. AI must be held to account – and so must users
    Users build a relationship with AI and start to trust it after just a few meaningful interactions. With trust, comes responsibility and AI needs to be held accountable for its actions and decisions, just like humans. Technology should not be allowed to become too clever to be accountable. We don’t accept this kind of behaviour from other ‘expert’ professions, so why should technology be the exception.
  3. Reward AI for ‘showing its workings’
    Any AI system learning from bad examples could end up becoming socially inappropriate – we have to remember that most AI today has no cognition of what it is saying. Only broad listening and learning from diverse data sets will solve for this. One of the approaches is to develop a reward mechanism when training AI. Reinforcement learning measures should be built not just based on what AI or robots do to achieve an outcome, but also on how AI and robots align with human values to accomplish that particular result.
  4. AI should level the playing field
    Voice technology and social robots provide newly accessible solutions, specifically to people disadvantaged by sight problems, dyslexia and limited mobility. The business technology community needs to accelerate the development of new technologies to level the playing field and broaden the available talent pool.
  5. AI will replace, but it must also create
    There will be new opportunities created by the robotification of tasks, and we need to train humans for these prospects. If business and AI work together it will enable people to focus on what they are good at - building relationships and caring for customers.

Shama explains, “Building chatbots and AI that helps our customers is the easy part - the wider questions that the rising tide of AI bring are broad and currently very topical. Because of this, we developed our AI within a set of guiderails, these are the core principles that we believe help us to ensure our products are safe and ethical.”

“The ‘Ethics of Code’ are designed to protect the user and to ensure that tech giants, such as Sage, are building AI that is safe, secure, fits the use case and most importantly is inclusive and reflects the diversity of the users it serves. As a leader in AI for business we would like to call others to task – big businesses, small business and hackers alike - and ask them to bear these principles in mind when developing or deploying their own Artificial Intelligence.“

Deepening the talent pool

To help solve for the current skills gap in AI, Sage announced a UK-first rolling program of BotCamps, which will equip school leavers between 16-25 years of age with basic Bot and AI coding skills, giving them the opportunity to be at the leading edge of technology. This programme is designed to be inclusive, and provide accessible technology skills that will help people to embrace, not fear, the 4th industrial revolution.

Leading by example

Sage has been leading the financial accounting revolution with the launch of its chatbot, Pegg.

Designed with the intention of freeing customers from mundane admin that prevents them from focusing on higher value tasks, and boasting 100% compliance with Sage’s own core AI principles, Pegg acts as a smart assistant for small businesses, enabling users to track expenses and manage finances through popular messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and Slack.

One year from general availability, Pegg now has tens of thousands of users across 135 countries worldwide.

In a next phase development of this widely used accounting tool, Sharma today announced live on stage, that Sage accounting chatbot Pegg is now integrated with Sage One - the entry level cloud accounting tool used by small business around the world. Sage One with Pegg will be available in Canada from summer 2017.

Sage will be delivering ideas, inspiration and insight as well as showcasing its full suite of business management solutions at Sage Summit and Sage Summit Tour events running across 2017. Click here for more details


About Sage 
Sage is the market and technology leader for integrated accounting, payroll and payment systems, supporting the ambition of entrepreneurs and business builders. Today, business builders measure success in strong relationships, partnerships, and communities. It‘s why Sage helps drive today’s business builders with the most intelligent and flexible cloud-enabled software, support and advice to manage everything from money to people. Daily, more than 13,000 Sage colleagues in 23 countries work with a thriving global community of over 3 million entrepreneurs, business owners, tradespeople, accountants, partners and developers to champion the success of business builders everywhere. And as a FTSE 100 business, we are passionate about doing business the right way, supporting our local communities through the Sage Foundation. 

Sage – the market and technology leader for integrated accounting, payroll and payment systems, powered by the cloud and supporting the ambition of the world’s entrepreneurs and business builders. Because when business builders do well, we all do.