Oracle’s Pedro Pavón Talks Transparency in AI

The success of artificial intelligence depends on getting consumers’ buy-in.

Tech companies including Oracle Corp., Facebook Inc., and Alphabet Inc.’s Google are working to expand their AI-based products and services. But ensuring that customers trust the products is an ongoing challenge.

Companies need to make sure their customers understand that they are interacting with a computer rather than a person, and that they understand how AI works, Pedro Pavón, managing counsel for Oracle, told Bloomberg Law on the sidelines of the Bloomberg Law Leadership Forum in New York.

“You don’t want to deceive people into thinking it’s a person on the other end,” Pavón said in a video interview.

Pavón said customers should also know how the AI is built into the product they’re using. Companies don’t need to show them exactly how an algorithm is making a decision. But customers should know when an algorithm is making a decision and what type of data it is relying on, he said.

AI makes decisions based on the data it receives from human programmers. Pavón proposed several ways to ensure programmers aren’t inserting inherent biases into the system. Companies should diversify their workforce, ensure employees work collaboratively, and perform robust testing to identify instances of bias, Pavón said.

Pavón said Oracle aims to integrate AI into every part of its technology offerings, but the company plans to do so in an “ethical and comprehensive way.”