In conversation with... Nozha Boujemaa

Nozha Boujemaa, Global Director of Digital Ethics and Responsible AI at IKEA, Ingka Group, whom we had the pleasure of hosting during our latest Responsible AI Webcast. We were able to ask her additional questions about AI management within IKEA.

IKEA : Artificial Intelligence for CSR ?

 

During our last webinar on Artificial Intelligence, Nozha Boujemaa, called for a real international consensus allowing for better coherence of action.

While the definition of AI is debated, she proposed a broad definition of the term and included "everything that creates value from data, whenever we transform data into information and knowledge".

For her, the key to responsible AI is two fold: based on both regulation and trust. The European draft regulation on AI of 21 April 2021 constitutes, in this respect, a significant advance. Nozha Boujemaa points out that "it is not AI that is regulated, but the impact of this technology and its context of application". A good start, according to her, although still incomplete.

This regulatory effort must also be accompanied by an increase in trust. But there must be evidence that this trust is not misleading. This evidence includes traceability, the life cycle of data and the tools to assess it. There is a need to offer more transparent services to customers, to make them feel more comfortable in making a decision to develop global responsibility.

 

What has been your action plan in the Ingka Group to offer more transparency in CSR ?

Nozha Boujemaa: Within the Ingka Group, our transparency requirements do not only concern consumers, but also business partners, suppliers and employees. Within the framework of our "Customer data provides" programme, we are working towards transparency and regulation of the use of our customers' data. Transparency is the reduction of information asymmetry between service providers and consumers.

In parallel, we are working on other issues such as the transparency of the operating modes in the sales recommendation engine, or the information search engine. In addition, we are setting up an interdisciplinary team to work on all responsible AI topics. The primary reason is to align our digital products and services with the ethical values of the Ingka Group.

 

Today, do you notice an evolution in the uses and behaviours linked to these different works ?

Yes, of course. First of all, Ingka Group's strategic decision was to conduct our digital transformation in a responsible manner. Since the day this was made known through out the company, we have seen a great deal of awareness and interest. Today, many employees in digital departments around the world ask us for advice or suggestions. They themselves are customers and affected by these daily issues. It is great to see that employees are becoming ambassadors !

 

What advice would you give to a company that wants to take action for responsible AI ?

The awareness campaign is a key point. We can develop responsible approaches and solutions, but if employees are not aware of the impact, and how to use these tools, the strategy cannot be implemented. It is essential to communicate clearly why we need all these changes and to explain what will happen if we don't move, based on examples and counter-examples from their daily working lives.

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