Cambridge Consultants today launches a new report, stating that the telecommunications sector will be an Artificial Intelligence (AI) pioneer, as many features of 5G networks and IoT networks will depend on AI techniques to reach their maximum potential.

A recipe for responsible AI

The telecommunications sector is already highly digitised and driven by strong competition between vendors and operators alike. The increasing complexity of communications networks will continue to grow and will likely depend heavily on AI-powered, autonomous infrastructure.

A critical enabler for AI in telecommunications so far has been the huge volume of data that it routinely generates, harvests and stores. Many sectors are still very analogue, but the digital nature of telecommunications means that the scale and scope of data available gives the maximum opportunity for machines to continuously learn and improve – laying the perfect infrastructure for mass AI to take off.

But how do we get there responsibly and securely?

The report confirms the key to responsible AI deployment in society lies with the following five factors:

  • Responsibility: There needs to be a specific person responsible for the effects of an autonomous system’s behaviour. This is not just for legal redress but also for providing feedback, monitoring outcomes and implementing changes
  • Explainability: It needs to be possible to explain to people impacted (often laypeople) why the behaviour is what it is. This is vital for trust
  • Accuracy: Sources of error need to be identified, monitored, evaluated and if appropriate mitigated against or removed
  • Transparency: It needs to be possible to test, review (publicly or privately), criticise and challenge the outcomes produced by an autonomous system. The results of audits and evaluation should be available publicly and explained
  • Fairness: The way in which data is used should be reasonable and respect privacy. This will help remove biases and prevent other problematic behaviour becoming embedded

Recent developments in AI, and specifically in machine learning, have enabled advancements in fields as diverse as user interfaces, security and intrusion detection, marketing, medical diagnostics and financial trading. Telecommunication devices have enabled the wide adoption of voice personal digital assistants (Alexa and others), and will continue to pave the way for the ‘Augmented Human’, where a human and AI work together hand in glove, in many industrial fields and at home.

The new report paints a future in which doctors and nurses are empowered to tackle more complex conditions by a personal physician’s assistant and lawyers can instantly access all relevant precedent.

Following the five factors, the transition will need to be managed carefully so that the benefits of AI can be shared across all elements of society. We expect to see data-led customisation: in healthcare with personalisation of treatments, in education with personalisation of teaching methods and curriculum, in entertainment with custom virtual reality games and maybe even in government. Of course, we also expect to see significant numbers of fully-autonomous vehicles on our roads and in our corridors transporting people and goods to where they are required.

“Whether or not we’re ready, AI is set to impact our everyday lives and these five factors give a framework for responsible AI infrastructure to sit within society,” said Michal Gabrielczyk, Senior Technology Strategy Consultant, Cambridge Consultants. “Telecoms will unquestionably pave the way, with significant opportunities to deploy AI in networks and in consumer-facing services. This will give the sector the opportunity to build consumer faith in AI and enable an exciting future.”

Cambridge Consultants will be showcasing the full report, titled "AI: Understanding and Harnessing the Potential" at Mobile World Congress, taking place in Barcelona, February 26th to March 1st. Register to receive the full report here or visit Cambridge Consultants in Hall 7, stand 7B21.

Notes to editors

Cambridge Consultants develops breakthrough products, creates and licenses intellectual property, and provides business consultancy in technology-critical issues for clients worldwide. For more than 50 years, the company has been helping its clients turn business opportunities into commercial successes, whether they are launching first-to-market products, entering new markets or expanding existing markets through the introduction of new technologies. With a team of more than 700 staff, including engineers, scientists, mathematicians and designers, in offices in Cambridge (UK), Boston (USA) and Singapore, Cambridge Consultants offers solutions across a diverse range of industries including medical technology, industrial and consumer products, digital health, energy and wireless communications. For more information, visit: www.CambridgeConsultants.com

Cambridge Consultants is part of Altran, a global leader in engineering and R&D services which offers its clients a new way to innovate. Altran works alongside its clients on every link in the value chain of their project, from conception to industrialisation. In 2015, the Altran group generated revenues of €1.945bn. With a headcount of more than 27,000 employees, Altran is present in more than 20 countries. For more information, visit: www.altran.com

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