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Business Leaders Call For New Ethical Standards Within AI
Jun 19, 2018
- Equal AI initiative aims to eradicate conscious and unconscious gender bias in AI
- Arianna Huffington, Martha Lane Fox, Professor Justine Cassell and Jimmy Wales back initiative
- AI Report to be published with new codes of conduct for businesses

CANNES, France, June 19, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- LivePerson, Inc., a leading provider of conversational commerce solutions, has brought together global leaders in business, tech and academia to launch an ambitious project to set new standards in AI. The initiative, named Equal AI, will encourage brands to assess their current ways of working and focus their efforts on eradicating gender bias in the engineering of AI. 

Equal AI logo

It was launched today by Robert LoCascio, founder and CEO of LivePerson, at the Cannes International Festival of Creativity. It is focused on correcting and preventing gender bias in the development of artificial intelligence. With the rapid growth of AI, and its susceptibility to incorporating the personal and unconscious biases of its creators, this initiative will shine a light on this important issue, and work towards a new set of best practices to raise the bar across the AI field. 

In a recent survey commissioned by LivePerson, nearly 60% of U.S. consumers agreed with the statement that "AI is a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilisation". When it came to the gender imbalance in the technology industry, most respondents were troublingly unaware of the current landscape, which is heavily male-dominated: 50% of respondents said they believe the industry is made up of an equal mixture of both men and women. At the same time, only 8% of respondents said they could name a famous woman leader in technology, compared to the 57% who said they could name a male leader.

With Equal AI, LivePerson is actively challenging the consequences of an internet that was created by organizations mostly dominated by men. If AI creators use their own unconscious personal biases, they will unwittingly set benchmarks for all of society as their biases reappear in the algorithms. At the same time, machines are teaching themselves from data sets and texts that reflect or even amplify society's past and present biases.

Together with leaders across business, technology, and academia, Equal AI will develop guidelines, standards, and tools to ensure equal representation in the creation of AI.

Joining the Equal AI initiative are:

  • Professor Bettina Buechel, Professor of Strategy and Organisation at IMD Business School, Switzerland
  • Damian Bradfield, President, WeTransfer
  • Professor Justine Cassell, Associate Dean for Technology Strategy and Impact in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University.
  • Alex Depledge, Founder,
  • Tabitha Goldstaub, Co-Founder of Cognition X
  • Tristia Harrison, CEO of TalkTalk Group
  • Arianna Huffington, Founder and CEO of Thrive Global
  • Martha Lane Fox, Founder of doteveryone
  • Jimmy Wales, Founder, Wikipedia
  • Sarah Wood, Founder, Unruly
  • Debbie Wosskow, British Entrepreneur

In September 2018, Equal AI will publish a report with tangible and practical steps businesses can take to play their part in eliminating bias from AI. The report will call for engaged supporters to adopt these practices in their own businesses, setting a new standard for corporate responsibility on the issue. The website will provide details on the work and guidelines created by the initiative.

Founder and CEO of LivePerson Robert LoCascio said: "As we enter the AI revolution that will define our future, women make up less than 30% of research positions worldwide. Even worse, across the largest tech companies, fewer than 20% of technical roles are held by women.

"While the world focuses on removing inequalities embedded across industries, we are simultaneously at risk of programming these very biases into the heart of the technologies shaping our future. We need the builders of tomorrow's products to be more female-led and to agree to a set of standards which avoid gender, racial, and ethnic bias, otherwise AI will become the next digital technology that divides us."

Supporting this, Dr Justine Cassell, Associate Dean for Technology Strategy and Impact at the School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University, says: "AI has great potential to transform our lives by making technology more efficient, reliable and capable, opening up tremendous human opportunities. But unless we address these everyday behavioral biases now, AI will enshrine and perpetuate the problematic gaps that currently exist within society."

Supporter Martha Lane Fox, Founder doteveryone said: "The development of AI, one of the world's biggest innovations, risks running away before ethics and standardisation has caught up with it. It's important that everybody responsible for using AI comes together to agree on a set of standards. As the Founder of an organisation that champions responsible technology for the good of everyone in society, it is essential to support this charge"

More information is available at

About LivePerson
LivePerson makes life easier by transforming how people communicate with brands. Our 18,000 customers, including leading brands like Citibank, HSBC, Orange, and The Home Depot, use our conversational commerce solutions to orchestrate humans and AI, at scale, and create a convenient, deeply personal relationship — a conversational relationship — with their millions of consumers. For more information about LivePerson (NASDAQ: LPSN), please visit


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