Intelligent Technology Can Give Ethical Guidance


Hey Robot, is AI a good thing?

Accenture employees can now anonymously ask a new internal chatbot questions on the ethical guidelines for deploying a client’s artificial intelligence programs.

Called COBE, Accenture’s chatbot can also address the proper use of social media or employee interactions in the workplace, the global consulting firm announced Dec. 20.  Users can interact with COBE—an acronym for Code of Business Ethics, from which it was transformed—via instant message.

Accenture designed COBE as more employees and clients encounter a host of ethical questions amid their increasing work on artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, and other new technologies.

Ensuring that the use of these technologies respects human rights, precludes biases, and protects consumer privacy are some of the complex questions that companies need to address as they continue research and development.

COBE provides guidance in a way that’s “much more natural” than having to navigate a website or a lengthy policy document, Chad Jerdee, Accenture’s general counsel and chief compliance officer, told Bloomberg Law. He said it’s available in multiple languages and accessible to the visually-impaired.

Accenture built COBE on a natural language processing engine and designed it to support AI capabilities. Jerdee said the company launched internally in September and is continually working to broaden the scope of COBE’s knowledge.