L’intelligence artificielle est un
sujet qui concerne les travailleurs sur tous les niveaux. Plusieurs personnes
ont discuté déjà des problèmes philosophiques et les éthiques d’intelligence
artificielle. Accenture est un organisme plus préoccupé par les profits
potentiels dans le monde d’automatisation et les affaires des entreprises.
Accenture est une entreprise intéressée avec l’intelligence artificielle pour
le succès de leurs clients, mais ils n’ont pas dit beaucoup sur sujet des
travailleurs vulnérables.

 

History:

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Accenture is a Fortune Global 500 company¹ which
offers business insights via their 5 subsections focusing on consulting,
strategy, digital, technology, and operations. Their partnerships with many
companies on the fortune 500 list have allowed them to grow into an extremely
successful transnational corporation. Despite having five separate
specializations listed on their website, Accenture’s services often include a
holistic approach which recognizes the presence of new and emerging technologies
in the  workplace and how companies can
benefit from the implementation of the world’s most cutting-edge technological
advancements. Accenture first began as a consulting branch of Arthur Andersen
in the mid 1900s, and has since cut ties with the firm as an independent
organization.² The name “Accenture” came from a rebranding effort after cutting
ties with Andersen which combined the words accent and future. The name was
submitted for consideration by an employee named Kim Petersen in order to
exemplify the company’s intense devotion to addressing the changing landscape
of the business world in the face of new technological advancements.³ The
company is governed by a board made up of 12 people, and has been a publicly
traded company on the New York Stock Exchange since 2001,? giving the
for-profit organization a responsibility to fulfill for its investors. In
addition to showing great success and profitability in their consulting
business, Accenture has also taken great strides to demonstrate inclusion of
diverse people and transparency in their business practices. The information
they put out to the public denotes a high importance placed upon acceptance of
diversity in the workplace, and supporting a culture of tolerance of people
from all walks of life regardless of the varying legal and political cultures
in the many countries that Accenture operates within.? In keeping with their
goal of offering future-focused services, Accenture has kept a close eye on the
technological developments which could change the face of business and the
workplace through artificial intelligence, and the corporation has even gone so
far as to appoint a new managing director of artificial intelligence this year
for their operations within Canada.? The new developments in artificial
intelligence have been responded to with an increased attention to the tech
industry’s progress towards cognitive machines.

 

Background Information:

Artificial intelligence is a term used to describe
machines and technology which have been developed to perform tasks typically
requiring human intelligence. While today’s discussions of artificial
intelligence often mention job loss or the advancements made in the creation of
human-like androids, the term applies to all forms of technology which reduce the
need for cognitive intervention by human agents via intelligent coding.
Automated teller machines (ATMs) and smart traffic lights are two examples of
everyday AI that often go unnoticed as they perform what seem to be trivial
tasks. “The
success of early AI went to its practitioners’ heads and they believed that
they would soon develop machines that would emulate human intelligence. They
convinced many of the funding agencies and the military to provide research
grants, as they believed that real artificial intelligence would soon be
achieved.” A1 The dissatisfaction of
investors and the general public with the actual output of AI research and
development, triggered critiques of the field of study as a whole, what would
be referred to as an AI winter. This event is defined by “a recurring season in
which research funding is withheld due to disillusionment over unfulfilled
promises?.” The AI winter had a stagnating effect on the developments of the
industry as the small developments made over long periods of time did not match
the boastful promises made by professionals. Over the years AI has continued to
develop and be implemented in various workplaces, however some of the increase
has threatened current workers. Some of the most vulnerable to job loss from
automation are working class labour workers who, even facing altered workplace
positions rather than lost jobs, face income reductions due to the new layout
of the workplace.

 

Policies:

Accenture works internationally as a for profit
organization. While their various branches worldwide perform many tasks
separately and with varying practices based on the laws of their respective
host nations, they all have a responsibility to shareholders and must therefore
be primarily invested in creating profits. Accenture’s chief compliance officer
ensures that they are able to operate worldwide and advises the highest level
on how to maintain offices around the world running at the highest ethical
level, however the main oversight in policy decisions comes from their board of
directors. Unlike small-time groups and organizations who may also have taken a
stance on the use of artificial intelligence, Accenture must heed its
operations to the decisions of its 12-person board. The CEO of the
organization, Pierre Nanterme, also occupies a seat on the board of directors
and is arguably the most central individual in deciding the overall strategy of
the organization. As a business, the board operates with the interests of
shareholders in mind, focusing on private markets and emerging technologies to
decide the forward movement that the organization as a whole will take.
Concerning artificial intelligence, Accenture has taken a strong supportive
role in supporting new developments. The company has an optimistic outlook for
the future of cognitive machinery, and supports further developments in AI as
they could provide even greater advancements in how business is run.

 

Company Strategy:

Accenture aims to entice large corporations into
collaborating with them by advertising their forward-thinking model of business
consultation. The media they release, be it from their website or news
releases, is not intended for the average individual viewer, but rather
professionals with a background in business. While the name accenture does not
appear in common conversations and advertisements, their track record speaks
for itself. Their work with major clients has landed them on the global Fortune
500 list and has helped them to generate a larger network in which to market
their consultation services?.While their strategy seems to do very little in
convincing the general public to agree with their cause of furthering
developments in AI, it does indirectly affect the public view of AI by
demonstrating the effectiveness of cognitive machines via the businesses they
work with. While not directly attempting to influence the public opinion of
cognitive machines, the majority of Accenture’s work to support advancements in
AI come from implementing intelligent machines in the world and allowing their
presence to be normalized to the public.

 

Examples:

As mentioned in the strategy of Accenture, their
target audience is not the average layman. For this reason the majority of
their media releases come in the forms of blog posts and of news articles written
by Accenture staff members. Very little of Accenture’s work is of interest to
the general public, meaning that they do not have a large media presence beyond
their own publishings. In terms of artificial intelligence, the Accenture
website lists a number of articles concerning the challenges and opportunities
involved in new advances of artificial intelligence. Even their article
concerning responsible use of artificial intelligence by business leaders? does
not concern itself with the dangers faced by the job market or the working
class, but instead chooses to strictly describe the challenges faced by
corporate leaders concerning the use of cognitive machines. Those who will be
affected in terms of employment, while mentioned in the article, takes a backseat
to concepts of high economics and changing workplace environments. One thing
notably lacking from Accenture’s statements on artificial intelligence is the
topic of how automation of work could affect jobs for the working class. In
addition to this blog post, their website features a page listing the benefits
of automating financial services¹º listing the benefits of cutting out humans
to save time, money, and reduce the potential for human error. These two
examples show the main focus of Accenture on benefiting corporate leaders.
While they are aware of the potential difficulties to come with the automation
of labour, their main focus is the benefits for businesses, and in turn their
business, when implementing artificial intelligence in the workplace.

 

Critical Review:

Accenture’s approach to the topic of artificial
intelligence, while progressive, clearly demonstrates a specific motive. Unlike
certain groups and coalitions which operate without profit in mind, Accenture
is a for-profit corporation, and their policies demonstrate a for profit
attitude as well. The corporation demonstrates their support of the continued
development of cognitive machines through certain media publishings, but even
more greatly through their practices with the businesses they consult with. The
key focus of accenture in consulting for the future shapes their clients
businesses with strategies which include the most cutting edge technologies the
world has to offer. Throughout history, the development of AI has influenced the
job market greatly by automating jobs which had previously required human
input. While this can be seen as a cost-cutting measure for those in charge, it
can put many working class individuals out of a job. Accenture, however,
consults with businesses from the top, meaning that their interests involve
creating more profit for their client corporations as a whole rather than
favouring the multitude of individuals performing labour on the lower levels.

 

Conclusion:

It can be concluded, therefore, that while Accenture
aligns its views with many other progressive groups and organizations, their
motivations for doing so may not be the same. Unlike certain groups which
oppose or support new developments in AI citing economic or philosophical
beliefs, Accenture’s motives are purely for the advancement of large businesses
in their efforts to bring in profit. While this type of motivation is not an
objectively evil one, it is important to understand that the goals of Accenture
and that their viewpoint is not built out of any research aside from market
research. The ethics of developing more intelligent machines, along with the
effects that automation of human tasks can have on society are not priorities
to an organization based around money making. It is unfortunate that automation
of workforce labour is such an enticing cost-cutting strategy, as Accenture’s
interest in artificial intelligence demonstrates very little in the ways of
supporting those at risk of losing employment to artificial intelligence.

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