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2020 Corporate Responsibility Report

Responsible use of artificial intelligence (AI)

Digital responsibility img is a task for society as a whole. Deutsche Telekom develops artificial intelligence (AI) and uses it in a variety of products. The Group had more than 100 ongoing AI-supported projects at the end of 2020. Deutsche Telekom stands for an ethical approach to AI in which the focus is always on people and their needs. Last but not least, we have a great interest in ensuring that our customers can trust our products.

Against this backdrop, in 2018 we were one of the first companies in the world to develop management guidelines for the ethical handling of our AI. They clarify how we at Deutsche Telekom intend to use AI responsibly and develop our AI-based products and services. As with our Code of Conduct, additional steps, regulations, and processes were required to elaborate and implement our AI guidelines. To that end, we initiated the following measures in the reporting year:

  • True to the motto “share and enlighten”, we created an online training course on “Digital Ethics” for our employees and held "Artificial Intelligence Roadshows” with presentations on AI topics at the German and international levels.
  • Owners of AI projects are advised directly by our Digital Ethics Team and can acquire an internal quality seal.
  • Since AI does not stop at company boundaries, the existing Supplier Code of Conduct has been supplemented with corresponding requirements for handling AI.
  • Within our committee work, we share our experiences and insights with other companies – including as part of our work in the Federation of German Industries (BDI), Germany’s digital association, Bitkom, the German Association for Digital Economy (BVDW), the Center for Business Ethics (ZfW) and in the Ethisphere Institute.

In 2020, we integrated the AI guidelines into our operational processes. They were included as an additional test in our Privacy and Security Assessment. We also developed internal testing procedures and test seals for Deutsche Telekom’s AI projects. In addition, we integrated the guidelines into various training courses for our employees. For example, we developed data scientist courses and our “Re-Skilling Academy”, and offer these in various attractive formats, including virtual tours, online training courses and “Digital Learning Journeys”.