• May 19, 2020

Pega Launches Ethical Bias Check to Help Prevent AI Discrimination

Pegasystems today launched Ethical Bias Check, a new capability of Pega Customer Decision Hub ;that helps eliminate biases hidden in the artificial intelligence (AI) driving customer engagements.

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

AI models can unintentionally develop 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.

Ethical Bias Check detects unwanted discrimination by using predictive analytics to simulate the likely outcomes of given strategies. After setting 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 ensure a fair and more balanced outcome for everyone

Ethical Bias Check streamlines bias testing by simulating an entire engagement strategy at once across all connected channels. With Pega's central AI brain, all AI decisions can be screened for bias, including which marketing offers to display on the web, which promotions to deliver in an email, or which service suggestions to make for each customer. Pega's detailed bias detection reports help clients understand why and where the issues might arise so they can correct them before they become problems.

Companies can set acceptable thresholds for an element that could cause bias, such as age, gender, or ethnicity. Business people can adjust these thresholds for scenarios where slanted outcomes may be justified -- such as when a healthcare company reaches out mostly to senior citizens with information about relevant Medicare services. Clients can widen or narrow the thresholds to account for the desired outcomes of their engagement strategies.

"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 Rob Walker, vice president of decisioning and analytics at Pegasystems, in a statement. "With the Ethical Bias Check, we're empowering businesses with tools that help reduce AI bias to improve how businesses interact with customers and increase customer lifetime value."

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