Sage Addresses for AI diversity at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona

  • Cloud , Accounting
  • 28.02.2017 08:00 am

Sage, a market leader in cloud accounting software, has called on technology companies to avoid replicating mistakes of the past by developing AI systems that promote diversity.

Call came from Kriti Sharma, Sage’s VP Bots and AI, during a speech at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, where she said:

“The lack of diversity in the AI developer community means that we aren’t getting enough variety in the information which we are inputting to AI machines.  This means that AI systems are working with incomplete data, data which is skewed to the perspectives of the engineers who develop them”. 

Sage is asking developer communities to take the initiative to ensure tomorrow’s technology accurately reflects the world in a way which our current work, news and information environments do not. Specifically, it is focusing on:

  • Engineers: Tech companies should continue work being done to increase workforce diversity, in order that AI learns from a broad spectrum of society, and accurately represents the people using it.
  • Data quality: Diverse data inputs will ensure a diverse knowledge base, and reduce bias in the information AI can provide. For example, Wikipedia is a common input source for AI machines, but only 17% of the notable personalities on Wikipedia are female. This kind of bias compromises AI’s ability to inform us in the future.
  • Stereotypes: Many of the virtual assistants developed today use female voices and so tomorrow’s AI should be mindful of gender stereotypes when it comes to bot roles and personalities.  If it isn’t, it will reaffirm today’s gender bias, rather than resolve it.

Kriti Sharma continued: “AI has the potential to provide a paradigm shift for our society.  As developers, we have both the opportunity and responsibility to make sure that the virtual world we are creating is as diverse as possible - ideally an even better world than the one we’ve created for ourselves. Future generations will come to rely on the data we are inputting to systems today, so it’s critical that we open AI up to everyone, irrespective of gender, language or culture.”

Sage is leading on developing AI for the benefit of business builders around the world, and this news follows efforts already underway at Sage to integrate the world’s first accounting chatbot, Pegg, into its cloud accounting solutions.

Pegg acts as a smart assistant, enabling users to track expenses and manage finances through popular messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger and Slack. In the last 6 months since its launch, Pegg has attracted 20,000 Sage users in 110 countries to Invisible Accounting. Market research from Sage has also shown that 64% of small business owners would welcome Invisible Accounting, while a majority see AI (58%) as the biggest tech trend for 2017. 18% see chatbots themselves as the biggest tech trend for 2017, and 64% would welcome the ‘admin free world’  Sage is seeking to help business builders create.

This call to action around ethical AI is part of Sage’s mission to create software that helps business get where they want to go quicker, by allowing them to focus on the tasks that matter. As businesses increasingly take part in the digital transformation underway in wider society, Sage will be help them embrace the change, increase productivity and reap the benefits of seeing administrative burdens disappear.

Sage is working to make the transformation towards the digitalisation of business processes easier for businesses of all sizes. At the Sage Summit 2017, taking place at London’s Excel on April 5th and 6th, an estimated 5,000 business builders will gather to collaborate, learn and interact with the latest technology tools to support business growth. Attendees will be given access to experts from Google and NEO to discuss digital investment, while HM Revenue & Customers will provide the latest developments around Making Tax Digital and Auto-Enrolment.

Related News