SAS puts humans at the center with responsible innovation initiative

SAS Data Ethics Practice to lead collaborative effort to guide use of powerful technologies

As one of the first analytics companies, SAS is behind many advances that have transformed the way the world uses data. With the increasing, widespread use of powerful data technologies, the importance of responsible innovation has never been greater. Formalising a longstanding commitment to equity and human-centricity, SAS is launching a responsible innovation initiative, guided by the SAS Data Ethics Practice.

“By putting humans at the centre of the innovation process, SAS is committed to building a world where data uplifts and empowers everyone,” said Bryan Harris, SAS Chief Technology Officer. “The company has been at the centre of the evolution of  and has the expertise and experience to be an important contributor to the global effort to innovate responsibly.”

Technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning offer exciting opportunities to enhance human capabilities in many areas. However, if developed and deployed without appropriate controls and human involvement, those technologies can do more harm than good.

Responsible innovation includes, but goes beyond, important topics like responsible AI,  and bias to consider the entire innovation process. A responsible innovation approach injects equity and fairness at every step, from idea to development to deployment.

The SAS Data Ethics Practice (DEP) is a cross-functional team that guides a globally coordinated effort to help employees and customers deploy data-driven systems that promote human well-being, agency, and equity. It is led by Reggie Townsend, who was recently appointed to the US Department of Commerce’s National AI Advisory Council (NAIAC). He also serves on the board of EqualAI, a nonprofit organisation focused on reducing unconscious bias in the development and use of AI.

“EqualAI will benefit significantly from the insights and deep commitment that Reggie brings to developing and deploying inclusive AI in an equitable way,” said Miriam Vogel, President and CEO of EqualAI. “Reggie's focus is squarely aligned with our mission for AI to reach its maximum potential by ensuring it is created by and for a broader cross-section of the population.”

Vogel, who serves as Chair of the NAIAC, also looks forward to partnering with Townsend and the other 25 distinguished NAIAC participants.

Townsend and the DEP counsel and coordinate with SAS Research and Development and other groups within the company to embed responsible innovation principles of human-centricity, inclusivity, transparency, accountability, robustness, and privacy and security.

Learn more about responsible innovation at SAS.

Today's announcement was made at the virtual SAS Media & Influencer Briefing. To keep up with the latest news from SAS, follow @SASsoftwareNews on Twitter.

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A responsible innovation approach injects equity and fairness at every step, from idea to development to deployment.