Nuala O’Connor, SVP and Chief Counsel, Digital Citizenship at Walmart, has posted the following statement of the company's intentions and priority when it comes to implementing AI ethically throughout its various business operations:
"AI is embedded across our business, from how we personalize and improve experiences for our customers, members and associates to how we get inventory through our supply chain and more. As the pace of innovation increases and more sophisticated AI models are integrated into our business, it’s important those we serve feel confident and comfortable with the ways we use technology.
"We are a people-led, tech-powered company and we hold four core values: we act with integrity, respect the individual, serve our customers and members and strive for excellence. Along with our purpose of saving people money and helping them live better, these values continue to be our cornerstones as we change many other aspects of our company. Our digital trust commitments are based on these values and are an important foundation as we look to broaden our AI principles to include what we’re announcing and agreeing to today: the Walmart Responsible AI pledge.
"The Walmart Responsible AI Pledge is centered around six commitments that highlight how customers, members and associates can expect us to use AI responsibly, and throughout all phases of AI technology:
• Transparency: We commit to helping customers, members and associates understand how data and technology, including AI, are being used by our company and what our goals are as we use it.
• Security: We will use advanced security measures to protect your data. We commit to continuously reviewing security practices aimed at mitigating current and emerging threats.
• Privacy: We commit to evaluating AI systems so that the sensitive or confidential information we store is used in ways that protect privacy.
• Fairness: We will evaluate AI tools for bias that have the potential to affect the lives of our customers, members and associates. We seek to mitigate bias and commit to regular evaluations.
• Accountability: We will use AI managed by people. We commit to holding ourselves accountable for its impact.
• Customer-centricity: We will measure customer satisfaction with AI interactions and listen to feedback. We commit to continual reviews of our AI tools to ensure the technology is accurate, relevant and helping those we serve live better.
It comes down to this: While technology and shopping habits evolve, our purpose and values stay the same. The Walmart Responsible AI Pledge is about more than just AI. It is a moment in time for us to speak directly to our customers, members and associates; be transparent and address the concerns they may have with the rapid pace of technological innovation; and reinforce our commitment to using technology in ways that are safe and beneficial to them.
"And by leading in this space, we hope to pave the way for adoption of ethical AI in retail."
- KC's View:
Most people don't yet understand the implications of AI, but there's a lot of discussion out there that probably has some folks feeling queasy and discomfited.
I think it is smart for Walmart to establish the rules of the road - the directions the lanes are going, where the shoulder is, and what the guardrails are. This isn't just good for vendors and customers to understand, but also as a way for employees to be connected to the company's priorities and intentions.