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Rolls-Royce: breakthroughs in AI ethics and trustworthiness


Engineering giant believes the technology will ‘accelerate the next generation of industrialisation’

Engineering giant Rolls-Royce has said it has made breakthroughs which it believes will help gain society’s trust of the use of artificial intelligence (AI).


The firm’s data innovation business, called R2 Data Labs, has been spearheading the research and believes that its latest findings around the ethics of AI will help towards the acceptance of the technology, which Rolls-Royce believes will accelerate the next generation of industrialisation.


Rolls-Royce, which has its civil aerospace division in Derby, has been using AI for the last 20 years to monitor its aero engines in service in real time.


Its latest breakthroughs have been achieved as a part of the firm’s work to apply AI throughout its business, including the use of robotic inspections on critical components.

The first breakthrough is an “AI ethics framework”, which is a method that any organisation can use to ensure the decisions it takes to use AI in critical and non-critical applications are ethical.

The second is the first step-by-step process for ensuring the outcomes of AI algorithms can be trusted.


This involves a five-layer checking system, which can prevent biases from developing undetected, with results being constantly monitored to ensure they are trustworthy.

According to Rolls-Royce, its ethics framework and its trust process have been peer reviewed by experts in several big tech firms, as well as experts in the automotive, pharmaceutical, academic and government sectors. All of Rolls-Royce’s recent AI work will be published later this year.


In a keynote speech at London Tech Week’s AI Summit, Rolls-Royce chief executive Warren East, said: “By publishing our findings we want to move the AI ethics conversation forwards from discussing concepts and guidelines, to accelerating the process of applying it ethically.


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“There is no practical reason why trust in AI cannot be created now. And it’s only with the acceptance and permission of our society –based on that trust – that the full benefits of AI can be realised, and it can take its place as a partner in our lives and work.

“As a business we are open to collaborative innovation and we will continue to talk to key stakeholders, customers, counterparts and technology leaders to share our work in detail to see how we can help each other progress for the greater growth, wealth and health of our world.”

Caroline Gorski, global director at R2 Data Labs, said: “Rolls-Royce's AI capabilities are embedded deeply into other companies' products and services and so aren’t widely known.


“Rolls-Royce’s AI doesn't often feature in a consumers' understanding of how the digital world is changing their lives

By Robin Johnson, September 3, 2020, Published on Business Live

Image by F. Muhammad from Pixabay

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