Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming increasingly important in mobility and especially in automated cars. Continental is now developing an ethical guideline for operating self-learning systems. As a technology company, the corporation sees itself in charge of ensuring that the AI systems it designs always reach their conclusions in a spirit of equality. According to a press release, all product developments and internal processes are to be adapted to the new ethical standards.
»The development and use of artificial intelligence can and must be based on clear ethical principles,«
says Dirk Abendroth, Chief Technology Officer Automotive at Continental. Continental's »Code of Ethics« is in line with international rules, such as the EU guidelines for handling AI (»Ethics Guideline for Trustworthy AI«). It applies to all Continental locations worldwide and also serves as an orientation for all cooperation partners of the company.
Focus on Traceability and Data Security
The focus of the new regulations is on the traceability of computer-based decisions and data security. If important work steps are taken over by computers, a basic prerequisite for acceptance is that people continue to be able to understand the growing inner workings of a self-learning system, the Group says.
With the Code of Ethics, the company wants to provide transparent answers to the following questions: Where does the data come from? Which calculation steps lead to which actions? How is the data secured? In internal processes, for example in human resources: Are work processes involving the use of artificial intelligence in line with other Continental regulations, such as those on equality? Continental considers these questions and the rules related to them to be essential for shaping mobility in the future.
The Group is setting a good example with the new ethics rules and is likely to meet with open ears especially in Germany with its strict regulations on security and data protection. More and more functions in everyday life are hardly feasible in high quality without AI: voice assistants in smartphones, many diagnostics in the medical field and also navigation applications rely on self-learning algorithms. Continental itself uses artificial intelligence in camera-based driver assistance systems with object recognition, cornering assistants and gesture recognition as a means of communication between humans and vehicles. With AI support, these systems are able to process huge amounts of data in almost real time and deliver better results with every new piece of information.