Sage Outlines AI Core Principles
June 27, 2017
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' -- click here to 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 accountable -- 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
Sharma 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
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.