No horsing around, Pega gets serious on ethical bias check for AI

Named (presumably) after the Greek winged horse, Pegasystems Inc (Pega to its friends) is a specialist in cloud software for customer engagement.

Pega’s uses various AI techniques to (low-code) build software designed to customer interactions across channels, given that there are now more than one.

The company’s latest work sees it roll out an Ethical Bias Check in an attempt/effort to combat the kinds of AI bias that can creep into badly architected systems.

AI basis can take many forms, but essentially it is AI that has been impacted by external factors that it has ‘remembered’ and connected into its calculations erroneously or inadvertently. Good AI, on the other hand, is AI that uses only highly objective data that has been directly ‘observed’ by the system and makes sure that it doesn’t use any biased data to formulate critical decisions that could affect peoples’ lives. 

“As AI is being embedded in almost every aspect of customer engagement, certain high-profile incidents have made businesses increasingly aware of the risk of unintentional bias and its painful effect on customers,” said Dr. Rob Walker, vice president decisioning & analytics, Pegasystems. 

Walker notes that his firm’s new AI bias tools is a new capability found within the Pega Customer Decision Hub software product.

The feature flags possible discriminatory offers and messages generated by AI across all channels before they reach the customer.

As already suggested, AI models can unintentionally ‘learn’ biases over time related to factors such as age, ethnicity, or gender. Left undetected, this can lead to harmful discriminatory practices such as offering fewer loans, insurance policies, or product discounts to underserved populations. 

Threshold for bias

After setting their ‘ethical bias testing thresholds’, users receive alerts when the bias risk reaches unacceptable levels – such as if the audience for a particular offer skews toward or away from specific demographics. Operations teams can then pinpoint the offending algorithm and adjust the strategy to help ensure a fair and more balanced outcome for everyone.

With the advanced AI-power of Pega Customer Decision Hub sitting at the center of all customer interactions, Ethical Bias Check differentiates itself from other customer bias prevention methods with its unique capabilities such as:

“In addition to Ethical Bias Check, Pega has previously introduced other features and functions in Pega Customer Decision Hub aimed at helping clients act responsibly with AI. This includes the T-Switch, which gives organizations control over the transparency of their AI customer engagement models,” noted the company, in a press statement.

Pega Customer Decision Hub is meant to serve as an always-on ‘brain’ providing centralized AI across all customer touchpoints to optimise every interaction.

Pega’s higher-level brand here is the Pega Infinity software suite.

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