As AI has moved into the spotlight, businesses have found themselves performing the tricky balancing act of touting their use of this transformative tech while also assuaging fears about the impact it could have on the world.
In July, some of the biggest names in AI — including Amazon, Google, Meta, Microsoft and OpenAI — agreed to a set of commitments developed by the White House to ensure the “safe, secure and transparent” development of AI technologies. Now Walmart is entering the fray with the release of its own “Responsible AI Pledge,” dictating how it will deploy new AI technologies ethically.
“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,” said Nuala O’Connor, SVP and Chief Counsel, Digital Citizenship at Walmart in an Oct. 17 blog post. “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.”
Walmart’s new Responsible AI Pledge includes six commitments:
- Transparency in helping customers, members and Walmart associates understand how data and technology, including AI, are being used by Walmart and what the company’s goals are for its use;
- The use of advanced security measures to protect customer data, as well as continuous review of security practices in order to mitigate “current and emerging threats”;
- The evaluation of AI systems to ensure that any sensitive or confidential information Walmart stores is used in ways that protect privacy;
- The regular evaluation of AI tools for biases that have the potential to affect the lives of Walmart customers, members and/or associates, and mitigation of any biases uncovered;
- A commitment to accountability: “We will use AI managed by people,” said the company. “We commit to holding ourselves accountable for its impact”; and
- Customer-centric practices that will include measuring customer satisfaction with AI interactions and listening to feedback, as well as continual reviews of our AI tools to ensure the technology is accurate, relevant and helping achieve its goals.
“The Walmart Responsible AI Pledge is about more than just AI,” said O’Connor. “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.”