It’s been emotional

CareerReady 2019 – in the words of the interns

Here’s the story of 5 Career Ready interns and their 4 week internship in the Sopra Steria Edinburgh DigiLab…..

Jack

Hello my name is Jack. I’m 17 years old and my 4-week internship with Sopra Steria is coming to an end. To be completely honest I was originally was just doing this for the money. I mean what 17 year old wouldn’t like £1000? But my mentor Craig took me to the office for a visit before I started, and it seemed like it was going to be a very nice place to work. He explained how useful the internship would be and it made me excited to get started. I really wanted to learn new things and have something extra I can put on my CV. Also, the money is still a pretty big motivator, but don’t tell Stephen that.  

Jackson

Bonjour mon copains, Jackson aged 16 speaking. On the lead up to the internship I’m not going to lie I began to regret making the decision to use up 3 weeks of my Summer working. However, I kept telling myself it would be worth it as I would gain experience of working in an office environment and develop skills such as problem solving, confidence and teamwork as well as independence and self-management. I really wanted the experience to put on my CV as it was looking a bit empty as it was. I’d never heard of Sopra Steria before which at first made me nervous, though as it got closer to the starting date, I visited my mentor at the office and met a few of her colleagues which reassured me that everyone was kind. Also, once Nikki told me what kind of tasks, I would be given I knew that there was a possibility I might have a good time.  

Daniel

Hi anyone who may be reading this, I am aged 17 and have spent 4 weeks doing an internship at Sopra Steria with Career Ready. My predictions were nothing near the reality. I thought it was going to be working at a desk all day following around our mentors and doing everything for them E.g Making him cups of coffee and running to the printer. Not long after I thought that my mentor told me I was going to be more involved with everyone which made me think I’d enjoy it a lot more than I thought I was going to when I first heard about my placement. If I was to be truly honest, I was only in it for the money and the fact of getting a good piece of work experience at the end of it for future jobs. 

Elise

Hi all I’m Elise, I’m 16 and spent my four-week internship in Sopra Steria. Before I started this internship, I thought it was going to be some boring office job you hear about like accounting or writing emails, I didn’t know what we were going to do and that fear of not knowing what it would be like made me really nervous before starting. I was nervous about who I would be working with as although I knew a couple of the interns, I didn’t know everyone, and I didn’t want things to be weird in the team. I will always remember getting on the bus in the morning at rush hour for the first time, I was so nervous about what I was doing and what it would be like, I didn’t want to mess up but I told myself it would be good. Once I started working and got to know who I was working with these nerves and worries all faded away. 

Kaia

Hi there my name is Kaia and I am 17 years old , before starting this internship I was very nervous about what to expect and was really out of my comfort zone I was also anxious to meet everyone including the other interns and people who actually worked in the office and was hoping they would be welcoming and just all round nice people which luckily for me they were. I didn’t fully know what to expect and that can be scary going into a new place and doing something you haven’t experienced before. The first day was a bit awkward with all the interns but that was expected and I think once we all felt a bit more comfortable with being in this new work space with people we didn’t know and realised we were all in the same boat we opened up a lot more. 

Project #1: #DigitalTherapy

This was our first task given to us by Stephen. We were challenged with finding a way to provide further knowledge about office365 and especially teams to people working within Sopra Steria. We created a planner as a team to make sure we were staying on task, always had something to do and were staying organized. As part of #DigitalTherapy we used different research techniques for example we carried out interviews, created personas, created and carried out surveys and researched teams itself. Another way Stephen wanted to get office365 used more in the office was through classes that taught people about a specific topic each time. Therefor we planned classes for different groups of people based on their knowledge of office365 but in the sort time we were there we combined the different strengths for one lesson which Stephen lead the next week. We held a marketing brainstorm which lead to many branding ideas like the advert video which we planned and filmed. 

Learning: Personas with Fionn

We talked to Fionn who works in service design. We started off with an ice breaker as it was our first day, and Fionn talked about what he did. We did an activity where Fionn had lots of photos of someone’s day, and we had to arrange them in order from the start of their day to the end. We then created a persona for who we thought this person was and designed a prototype for an app which would help them change a career. Stephen tested this app as we observed him and got feedback. 

Leaning: Customer Research with Anna

We talked to Anna from user research. She told her about her job and explained how when creating a product, you must think about the user and not yourself. She taught us different techniques how to gather information on how a user uses your product. She set us an activity to observe people who worked in the building using the card operated gates at reception.  

Learning: Agile Methodology with Valerie

We talked to Valerie who is an agile methodology coach. She taught us what agile methodology is and helped us implement that into our own work planner which was overflowing with big tasks. 

Learning: User Experience (UX) with James

We talked to James who is from User Experience. He told us what user experience means and does. He taught us about low and high-fidelity prototypes and iterative processes and helped us in an activity to build a website for #DigitalTherapy. 

Learning: Website Prototypes with Bryce

We attended the design teams ‘feedback Friday’ where Bryce presented the site, he had coded which allows you to create high-fidelity prototypes of websites. 

Learning: LinkedIN with Lauren

We met Lauren who talked us through creating a LinkedIN account and the importance of the network. She gave us advice on preparing for interviews and getting a job. So look us up!

Project #2: DigiHacks

Stephen with help from Brian Wall had set us the task to create DigiHacks. Short videos to teach people shortcuts on their laptops to make their work lives more efficient, for example Windows L locks your screen. To start we planned what a hack was and how to make the videos short and catchy but informative. The next step was to split into two teams, one focused on branding and the other on beginning to film the hacks. We then had a meeting with Brian Wall where he clarified what he wanted, and he approved the filmed hacks. From there we designed a DigiHack intro to put at the beginning at each hack. We had finished the rest of the hacks in our back-log and added the intro to them. 

Project #3: Office Re-design

As our third task we were presented with the challenge by Nikki to create a presentation with ideas on how the Sopra Steria office could be improved to meet the needs of the staff. To gather feedback on what the staff thought was lacking in the office we created a survey on forms to e-mail around the office. Feedback gathered from said survey was added to our power point presentation. Also, on the power point we added laws about office layouts in order to stay within the boundaries of the law when re-designing the office. Using both the feedback and the laws we began to re-design the office, picking out new furniture to go with the design. With all this information in our power point, we were able to come together to present our ideas as a team to a small group of people. 

Project #4: Mortgages

After we finished these projects, we were all split up and given different projects. The issue for the project was mortgages and was done by Elise, it was about how the mortgage companies where taking advantage of customers making them unhappy, how customers where jumping from mortgage company to mortgage company to get the best rate and large percentages of people who couldn’t get mortgages due to their lifestyle. So, I was tasked in finding emotional case studies about people who were dealing or dealt with these issues, what banks in the UK are trying to solve these issues and if they haven’t why can’t they solve them. Then I started researching and what I found shocked me. I found issues on 3 of the six issues and the information found on three of the issues was very little with only a couple of case studies for one issue. So, I sent off the research and talked about how the lack of information shows how much an issue these issues are. 

Project #5: Smart office

The project Daniel did was working with OpenHAB. Daniel had to burn Linux Ubuntu 19.04 (a new operating system) onto a DVD, then had to wipe the computer to install the disk. Daniel then had to dive into the computers terminal and use commands to be able to install OpenHAB. Once installed you need to go to paperUI through OpenHAB and find the bindings to install the Phillips hue binding to then create a bridge between all the lights and connect the motions sensors to the lights so then Daniel got HABpannel to create an interface with Light switches, colour picker, showing the date and time etc. 

Project #6: Funded Innovation

Jack and Jackson worked on the Funded Innovation project which is the idea of companies and organisations providing funding to solve problems/issues innovatively and competatively.

We used Excell to bring all of the previous competitions and prizes together in a report which we presented to Dan Broomham who is Director of Digital.

Overall opinions – questions and answers 

Opinions: Elise

How did you find the different projects/tasks you were given? 

I found these tasks challenging, at the start they really felt like rather big tasks that would be hard to achieve but once we started getting into the swing of the work and started getting things completed, I started feeling like the projects were achievable. You can only do the best you can, and we definitely done the best we could do in these projects. There were tasks within the projects that I had difficulties with but overcame and overcoming them is such a great feeling, a lot of these difficult tasks I overcame with my teammates.  

What did you take away from your internship? 

I think I’ve took away a lot from my internship, I have really learnt a lot being here every task we done and members of the workforce who came to talk to us. I’ve gained so much more confidence from this experience but also learnt when to step back and let others contribute their thoughts and ideas. I’ve learned what it is like to be in and work in a very diverse work space that is very open and collaborative, I definitely wasn’t expecting the internship to be so collaborative. I’ve also learned to cope with long work hours for a period of time which took a bit to get used too. I feel more self-confident than I was before I started and know its ok to ask for help when its needed. 

Has it changed what you want to do in the future? 

Hmm, I can’t say it’s changed what I want to do but it’s given me more ideas of what I can do in the future and paths I can take, it’s definitely taking me think more about where I want to go career wise. 

Were there any challenges?  

Yes, there were many challenges, within the work there was challenges that we all overcame as we worked through our projects. I think it also challenged us to go out our comfort zones quite a few times. 

How did you find the people you worked with? 

I was lucky in that I knew a couple of the interns before we went in but meeting the other interns, I didn’t know was lovely. As we all got to know each other we started to really enjoy one another’s company, have a good laugh and work very well together as a team. As well as the interns we met many members of the work force and they were all really lovely people to talk to and are always happy to help you out. 

Was it worth it? 

Yes, it was absolutely worth it, I spent four weeks having a laugh with a lovely group of people, learning and improving many skills, and getting paid for it. 

Opinion: Jackson 

How did you find the different projects/tasks you were given? 

Overall the tasks we were given were engaging and interesting. Although, from time to time there was little to do and the tasks became a bit repetitive, there was never a dull moment working in a team and free to use the DigiLab benefits. 

What did you take away from your internship? 

I really feel that I have honestly taken a lot from my internship. Whether its experience to put on my CV or the overall feeling of gaining a lot of independence and responsibility. Also the money isn’t too bad 😉  

Has it changed what you want to do in the future? 

One of my key reasons for being a part of career ready and taking on this internship was to try and clarify what it was I felt like doing in the future. This experience has defiantly shown me that I enjoy the office environment and I would defiantly be open to working in a similar environment in the future. 

Were there any challenges?  

I feel like one of the biggest challenges of the internship was just starting and not knowing what to expect and the fear of not fitting in with the other inters. A part from that, the only other big challenge was speaking in presentations and going around the office talking to different Sopra Steria employees. However, it is good to be pushed out of your comfort zone and I feel that this experience has really improved my confidence. 

How did you find the people you worked with? 

I have genuinely had a great time and have felt that the other interns have been well matched by the Career Ready team and they have all been so easy to get on with. The Sopra Steria employees have been so welcoming and have made me feel so comfortable.  

Was it worth it? 

Definitely. I had nothing to lose, without the internship I would probably be getting up at 12 and spent my holiday inside. As well as getting paid, working at Sopra Steria has improve my work experience dramatically. 

Opinion: Jack 

How did you find the different projects/tasks you were given? 

I really enjoyed all the tasks I was given. They kept me engaged and I was never bored. I was surprised at how practical all the tasks were as I was expecting to just be sat at a desk all day. I think working in the DigiLab really helped with this.  

What did you take away from your internship? 

Ehh… besides the £1000? All joking aside I have learned so much about what its like to work in the world. Its taught me how different the hours are and how it’s a lot less stressful than school (most of the time) 

Has it changed what you want to do in the future? 

It hasn’t changed what I want to do but it has made me realise what I need to do in order to get there. After being taught about linked in and how to right a cv it’s made me realise that it’s not that hard to start working. 

Were there any challenges?  

I think the main challenge was keeping my brain switched on. In school I’m used to getting a five minute break between periods and then finishing at 3, but working here was much harder as there was never a moment with nothing to do. I had to stay focused and get the tasks done. 

How did you find the people you worked with? 

Everyone in the office was very friendly and welcoming and I felt like part of the office from the first day. My fellow career ready interns were all so easy to work with and have a laugh with. I have made new friends and hope to make more people like the career ready crew in the future.  

Was it worth it? 

100%. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in the Sopra Steria office, and it will forever be a memory I hold. Its taught me so much and is given me a big boost into the working world. On top of all of that it has taken a lot of worries out of my mind. I would do the whole thing again if I could.  

Opinion: Daniel

How did you find the different projects/tasks you were given? 

The different projects were great I really enjoyed them all. We were always so practical doing everything, never ran out of work to be doing. There was a lot of challenging parts but also some easy that I could cope with well.  

What did you take away from your internship? 

I’m taking away with me all the knowledge I had learned throughout the 4 weeks. I will continue to be more confident in things as I have always been one to be shy all the time. I will take away knowing what it’s like in the world of work a real job in the office. 

Has it changed what you want to do in the future? 

It hasn’t changed my views on the future I still want to continue with IT as I already did before. But It has changed my views on how I’ll be writing my CV’s in the future and it has made me want to start using linkedin for looking at job adverts 

Were there any challenges?  

There were lots of challenges to begin with as I had always felt so anxious but I do feel like my confidence level has risen and hopefully I can keep it that way. There were a few other little challenges here and there but were easily over come. 

How did you find the people you worked with? 

The people I have been working with are all such lovely people such as the other career ready interns and all the staff are so friendly always smiling and saying hello as you walk by them. Stephen really showed to care about us individually always making sure we’re all ok. 

Was it worth it? 

Yes it was worth it. I now know what it is like working in the real world and getting to meet so many nice people. Apart from getting the money at the end it was also worth learning new skills and knowing what to put on CV’s and most importantly it gives us further work experience for our futures’ 

From all the career ready 2019 team, Thanks for reading! 

Keeping clients one step ahead – the DigiLab story (Part #3)

Connecting dots. Jumping curves.

So how do we connect up all these rich pools of learning? DigiLabs is the Sopra Steria hothouse for innovation, uniquely straddling our global spheres of expertise. The way we’re structured helps us bring together insight from across our eco-system to answer the critical challenges faced by our customers, with unrivalled vision and leadership.

Sopra Steria has 11 businesses lines, spanning Aerospace, Automotive, Insurance, Banking, Defense, Security, Government, Energy, Transport, Telecoms and Media. Each has an elected Digital Champion – as do each of our 5 technology streams which focus on Digital Interaction, IoT, Smart Machines, Data Science and Blockchain. These Digital Champions work as a single network, highly connected and charged with constantly sifting for innovation nuggets in their sector, helping us ‘jump the curve’ by anticipating the next big thing that will help turbo-boost digital transformation. Some Sopra Steria business lines have also created their own ‘Vertical Labs’ as a way to conduct sector-specific solution experiments, train experts, identify talents and share achievements both internally and externally.

Alongside regularly engaging with these Digital Champions, we:

  • Proactively reach out to start-up incubators to identify new technology partnerships
  • Stay closely connected to research centres, universities engineering schools
  • Enjoy close ties with high calibre strategic partners from Apple, Amazon, Google and HP to, IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, SAP and Samsung — keeping us in the heart-beat of global innovation
  • Harvest insight and learning from different countries

Project IRIS framework contract awarded for SMARTi3

Sopra Steria have been awarded a framework contract as part of Project IRIS for our SMARTi3 Open Source Intelligence gathering system.

Project Iris is a Police Transformation Fund (PTF) supported project, coordinated by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) Internet Intelligence and Investigations (III) Lead. It has established nationally agreed requirements for evidence capture as well as internet connectivity and audit tools across law enforcement.

The project represents all Police Forces in England and Wales and associated forces and agencies across the UK, including Police Scotland and the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

Vern Davis, Managing Director of Sopra Steria’s Aerospace, Defence and Security sector commented:

“Sopra Steria are delighted to have SMARTi3 Open Source Intelligence gathering system included as part of the Project IRIS framework. This powerful system is deployed in the cloud, offering a range of different security levels appropriate to the investigation. We are proud to be assisting in the prevention of serious organised crime. To be included in the framework demonstrates our commitment to helping transform law enforcement in the UK.”  

SMARTi3’s sophisticated algorithms sift through vast amounts of open source data in minutes, slashing time-to-intelligence from hours to minutes. Securely hosted in the UK, the system dramatically speeds up intelligence gathering and evidence development. The system can help in any nature of investigation whether that be in law enforcement, or in other government and public sector organisations and agencies.

The system will be available on a flexible procurement framework held by the Police ICT Company. Forces will be able to select a solution which best fits their individual needs in the knowledge that solutions meet an agreed industry standard.

For further information on SMARTi3, please contact Nick.Macdonald@soprasteria.com.

Keeping clients one step ahead – the DigiLab story (Part #2)

Immersion. Inspiration. Ideation. Implementation.

Digital transformation projects are often mission-critical, and therefore usually urgent. There’s a need to quickly unearth and interrogate challenges, sift the solution options and get things into test and development. To get this process powerfully kick-started, we start by immersing our customers in a rich universe of use cases, latest technologies and sector insight helping them bounce off best-practice learning and quickly leap-frog ahead.

Why cross-fertilize between sectors?

When the genetic material of two parents is recombined in nature, it delivers a greater variability on which natural selection can act. This increases a species’ ability to adapt to its changing environment and boosts its chances of survival. The same is true with transformation projects: the greater the importing, mixing and cross-fertilization of ideas from other sectors, processes and initiatives, the stronger and more adaptable products and services become.

Goodbye tail-chasing and closed loops

Silicon Valley is a great example of how cross-fertilization leads to innovation. As one of the most innovative ecosystems in the world, it nurtures a culture that is open to new people and thinking, promoting the healthy circulation of fresh ideas and profitable exploration of approaches outside their own industries and business practices. Similarly, using cross-fertilization lets us proactively free ourselves from cognitive immobility so we stop going around in circles, locked in our own stale and habitual thinking.

By transposing proven use cases and adapting systems already developed by another industry, we can:

  • Invent a platform for true market disruption breaking away from locked in patterns
  • Implement faster because preparatory work is already in place
  • Greatly reduce time to market and increase the possibility of competitive advantage
  • Co-create innovation with other client organizations to reduce costs
  • Connect with like-minded leaders around results and user experience to aid buy-in

Keeping clients one step ahead – the DigiLab story (Part #1)

Stasis is the enemy of success

Sopra Steria is lucky to work with some the world’s most exciting companies. It’s our job to help them transform digitally, across sectors as diverse as education, hospitality and aerospace. That means our organization is packed with know-how, experience and progressive thinking. Clients trust us to roll out integrated IT platforms and modernize their application stacks, but they are not always aware of how innovative, disruptive and forward-thinking our organization can be. This is why DigiLabs exists

In 2014, Eric Maman — one of our senior innovation consultants — decided to create a dedicated hub ruthlessly focused on innovation: cross-fertilized, federated, multi-disciplinary. A way for clients to immerse themselves in the wealth of Sopra Steria insight across our areas of expertise, sectors and technologies and turbo-charge their own digital transformation projects to rapidly eliminate waste and create new value.

He created the first DigiLabs based at our Paris HQ — today we have 24 innovation hubs around the world working as one seamless network from France, Spain and the UK to Germany, Norway, India and Singapore. This series of blogs tells their story and explains how public and private sector organizations are working with DigiLabs right now to foster creativity, strengthen idea generation and transform perennial operational problems into feasible and profitable new ways of working. Because in today’s fast-moving world, standing still is a dangerous strategy .

Shaping smarter thinking, together

Delivering tech for tech’s sake is not the DigiLab way. Instead we shape innovation around our customers’ most urgent use-cases, asking ourselves: can we harness the best of what’s out there to craft robust new approaches and think in exciting new ways about their challenges, audiences and stakeholders?

Through the DigiLab experience, customers work with our expert teams to:

  • Brainstorm creatively around technology, people and process
  • Identify pains and weakness with field observation and interviews
  • Anticipate new uses of performance-enhancing technologies
  • Create robust use-cases for innovation, supported by best-practice learning
  • Cross-fertilize insight from sectors to adapt and optimize solution design
  • Roll out innovation enterprise-wide and keep it current as the world changes

Vern Davis wins Business Leader of the Year

Hilton’s Park Lane grand ballroom was the venue for last night’s Ex-Forces in Business Awards and we are delighted to announce that Vern Davis, Managing Director of the UK Aerospace, Defence and Security (ADS) sector was named Business Leader of the Year. The awards is the largest celebration and recognition of ex-military personnel in the UK workforce, and the employers that support current and former members of the British Armed Forces. In line with our pledge to the Armed Forces Covenant, Sopra Steria actively seeks to provide career opportunities for this community and has a number of veterans working in all areas of our business. Vern was recognised for his transformation of the ADS business since joining in 2017.

Vern commented ‘I am delighted to have been recognised in these awards. Sopra Steria has a fantastic culture that really values different backgrounds and experiences, including those of the armed forces community. It is an honour to have been named Business Leader of the Year and I thank my team for all their hard work and support throughout our transformation of the ADS business.’

‘Ethics Guidelines for Trustworthy AI’ Summarised

On the 8thof April 2019, the EU’s High-Level Expert Group (HLEG) on AI released their Ethics Guidelines for Trustworthy AI, building on over 500 recommendations received on the ‘Draft Ethics Guidelines’ released in December 2018.

In this blog, I want to help you understand what this document is, why it matters to us and how we may make use of it.

What is it?

The ‘Draft Ethics Guidelines’ is an advisory document, describing the components for ‘Trustworthy AI,’ a brand for AI which is lawful, ethical and robust.  As the title suggests, this document focuses on the ethical aspect of Trustworthy AI.  It does make some reference to the requirements for robust AI and to a lesser extent the law that surrounds AI but clearly states that it is not a policy document and does not attempt to offer advice on legal compliance for AI.  The HLEG is tasked separately with creating a second document advising the European Commission on AI Policy, due later in 2019.

The document is split into three chapters;

  1. Ethical principles, the related values and their application to AI
  2. Seven requirements that Trustworthy AI should meet
  3. A non-exhaustive assessment list to operationalise Trustworthy AI

This structure begins with the most abstract and ends with concrete information.  There is also an opportunity to pilot and feedback on the assessment list to help shape a future version of this document due in 2020.  Register your interest here.

Why does this matter?

I am writing this article as a UK national, working for a business in London.  Considering Brexit and the UK’s (potential) withdrawal from the European Union it’s fair to ask whether this document is still relevant to us.  TL;DR, yes. But why?

Trustworthy AI must display three characteristics, being lawful, ethical and robust.

Ethical AI extends beyond law and as such is no more legally enforceable to EU member states than those who are independent.  The ethical component of Trustworthy AI means that the system is aligned with our values, and our values in the UK are in turn closely aligned to the rest of Europe as a result of our physical proximity and decades of cultural sharing. The same may be true to an extent for the USA, who share much of their film, music and literature with Europe. The ethical values listed in this document still resonate with the British public, and this document stands as the best and most useful guide to operationalise those values.

Lawful AI isn’t the focus of this document but is an essential component for Trustworthy AI. The document refers to several EU laws like the EU Charter and European Convention of Human Rights, but it doesn’t explicitly say that Lawful AI needs to be compliant with EU law.  Trustworthy AI could instead implement the locally relevant laws to this framework.  Arguably compliance with EU laws is the most sensible route to take, with of 45% of the UK’s trade in Q4 2018 was with the EU[1]according to these two statistics from the ONS.  If people and businesses in EU member states only want to buy Trustworthy AI, compliant with EU law, they become an economic force rather than a legal requirement.  We can see the same pattern in the USA, with business building services compliant with GDPR, a law they do not have to follow, to capture a market that matters to them.

The final component, Robust AI, describes platforms which continue to operate in the desired way in the broad spectrum of situations that it could face throughout its operational life and in the face of adversarial attacks.  If we agree in principle with the lawful and ethical components of Trustworthy AI and accept that unpredictable or adversarial attacks may challenge either then the third component, Robust AI, becomes logically necessary.

 

What is Trustworthy AI?

Trustworthy AI is built from three components; it’s lawful, ethical and robust.

Diagram

Lawful AI may not be ethical where our values extend beyond policy.  Ethical AI may not be robust where, even with the best intentions, undesirable actions result unexpectedly or as the result of an adversarial attack. Robust AI may be neither ethical nor legal, for instance, if it were designed to discriminate, robustness would only ensure that it discriminates reliably, and resists attempts to take it down.

This document focuses on the ethical aspect of Trustworthy AI, and so shall I in this summary.

What is Ethical AI?

The document outlines four ethical principles in Chapter I (p.12-13) which are;

  • Respect for human autonomy
  • Prevention of harm
  • Fairness
  • Explicability

These four principles are expanded in chapter II, Realising Trustworthy AI, translating them into seven requirements that also make some reference to robustness and lawful aspects. They are;

  1. Human agency and oversight

AI systems have the potential to support or erode fundamental rights.  Where there is a risk of erosion, a ‘fundamental rights impact assessment’ should be carried out before development, identifying whether risks can be mitigated and determine whether the risk is justifiable given any benefits. Human agencymust be preserved, allowing people to make ‘informed autonomous decisions regarding AI system [free from] various forms of unfair manipulation, deception, herding and conditioning’ (p.16).   For greater safety and protection of autonomy human oversightis required, and may be present at every step of the process (HITL), at the design cycle (HOTL) or in a holistic overall position (HIC), allowing the human override the system, establish levels of discretion, and offer public enforces oversight (p.16).

  1. Technical robustness and safety

Fulfilling the requirements for robust AI, a system must have resilience to attack and security, taking account for additional requirements unique to AI systems that extend beyond traditional software, considering hardware and software vulnerabilities, dual-use, misuse and abuse of systems. It must satisfy a level of accuracyappropriate to its implementation and criticality, assessing the risks from incorrect judgements, the system’s ability to make correct judgements and ability to indicate how likely errors are. Reliability and reproducibilityare required to ensure the system performs as expected across a broad range of situations and inputs, with repeatable behaviour to enable greater scientific and policy oversight and interrogation.

  1. Privacy and data governance

This links to the ‘prevention of harm’ ethical principle and the fundamental right of privacy.  Privacy and data protectionrequire that both aspects are protected throughout the whole system lifecycle, including data provided by the user and additional data generated through their continued interactions with the system. None of this data will be used unlawfully or to unfairly discriminate.  Both in-house developed and procured AI systems must consider the quality and integrity of data, prior to training as ‘it may contain socially constructed biases, inaccuracies, errors and mistakes’ (p.17) or malicious data that may influence its behaviour. Processes must be implemented to provide individuals access to dataconcerning them, administered only by people with the correct qualifications and competence.

  1. Transparency

The system must be documented to enable traceability, for instance identifying and reasons for a decision the system hade with a level of explainablity, using the right timing and tone to communicate effectively with the relevant human stakeholder.  The system should employ clear communicationto inform humans when they are interacting with an AI rather than a human and allow them to opt for a human interaction when required by fundamental rights.

  1. Diversity, non-discrimination and fairness

Avoidance of unfair biasis essential as AI has the potential to introduce new unfair biases and amplify existing historical types, leading to prejudice and discrimination.  Trustworthy AI instead advocates accessible and universal design, building and implementing systems which are inclusive of all regardless of ‘age, gender, abilities or characteristics’ (p.18), mindful that one-size does not fit all, and that particular attention may need to be given to vulnerable persons.  This is best achieved through regular stakeholder participation, including all those who may directly or indirectly interact with the system.

  1. Societal and environmental wellbeing

When considered in wider society, sustainable and environmentally friendly AImay offer a solution to urgent global concerns such as reaching the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.  It may also have a social impact, and should ‘enhance social skills’, while taking care to ensure it does not cause them to deteriorate (p.19).  Its impact on society and democracyshould also be considered where it has the potential to influence ‘institutions, democracy and society at large (p.19).

  1. Accountability

‘Algorithms, data and design processes’ (p.19) must be designed for internal and external auditabilitywithout needing to give away IP or business model, but rather enhance trustworthiness.  Minimisation and reporting of negativeimpacts work proportionally to risks associated with the AI system, documenting and reporting the potential negative impacts of AI systems (p.20) and protecting those who report legitimate concerns.  Where the two above points conflict trade-offsmay be made, based on evidence and logical reasoning, and where there is no acceptable trade-off the AI system should not be used. When a negative impact occurs, adequate redressshould be provided to the individual.

Assessing Trustworthy AI

Moving to the most concrete guidance, Chapter III offers an assessment list for realising Trustworthy AI. This is a non-exhaustive list of questions, some of which will not be appropriate to the context of certain AI applications, while other questions need to be extended for the same reason. None of the questions in the list should be answered by gut instinct, but rather through substantive evidence-based research and logical reasoning.

The guidelines expect there will be moments of tension between ethical principles, where trade-offs need to be made, for instance where predictive policing may, on the one hand, keep people from harm, but on the other infringe on privacy and liberty. The same evidence-based reasoning is required at these points to understand where the benefits outweigh the costs and where it is not appropriate to employ the AI system.

In summary

This is not the end of the HLEG’s project.  We can expect policy recommendations later in 2019 to emerge from the same group which will likely give us a strong indication for the future requirements for lawful AI, and we will also see a new iteration on the assessment framework for Trustworthy AI in 2020.

This document represents the most comprehensive and concrete guideline towards building Ethical AI, expanding on what this means by complementing it with the overlapping lawful and robustness aspects.  Its usefulness extends beyond nations bound by EU law by summarising the ethical values which are shared by nations outside of the European Union, and a framework where location specific laws can be switched in and out where necessary.

[1]Source: ONS – Total UK exports £165,752m total, £74,568m to the EU – 44.98% (rounded to 45%) of UK trade is to the EU.