Telefónica’s plan for a responsible AI culture

Responsible AI is technology that is developed in a trustworthy and people-centric way.

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At Telefónica we promote a culture of responsible artificial intelligence (AI) among all our employees in order to foster sustainable innovation that contributes to the socio-economic development of the regions in which we operate.

AI is one of the technologies with the greatest potential, offering enormous opportunities to improve people’s lives, increase organisations’ efficiency and be a key factor in competitiveness. However, AI also poses a number of ethical, social and environmental challenges that require a commitment to responsibility from all those involved in its use and development.

What is responsible AI?

Responsible AI is technology that is developed in a trustworthy and people-centric way. It is designed in a way that respects and promotes the protection of health, safety, human rights and the environment. Our commitment to responsible AI extends across our entire value chain, with a particular emphasis on the development of the products and services we provide.

In 2018, we became one of the first companies in the world to have ethical AI principles in place. This has allowed us to embark on an enriching journey, during which we have demonstrated the value of creating a culture based on innovation and the responsible design of new technologies such as AI, both for our customers and for society as a whole.

With the arrival of generative AI, we are now experiencing the democratisation of AI. It is part of our daily lives, both professionally and personally, and is no longer only a tool used by certain groups. Now more than ever, there is a need to educate employees on the opportunities and risks of AI and provide them with the skills to develop and implement this technology responsibly, and to do so in keeping with our governance model and AI principles as well as our company’s aim of making the world a more humane place. This is the main goal of our culture plan.

What are we doing to promote a culture of responsible AI?

Our aim is for everyone working at Telefónica to be aware of the benefits of AI and to be able to identify and manage the possible risks it may have on people and the environment.

With this in mind, we have designed a company-wide training plan to facilitate the AI-driven cultural transition. The aim is to encourage employees to be sensitive to ethics and reflect on them accordingly, so that they engage responsibly with AI, both in their day-to-day lives and when creating products and services. We do this by promoting best practices as part of our approach to AI governance.

culture plan

Our strategy to integrate a responsible AI culture is based on two aspects. Firstly, making available a number of tools to assess and control the risks posed by AI and, secondly, developing training and awareness-raising activities at all organisational levels. This internal training is further complemented by collaboration initiatives with national and international organisations that promote the ethical design and use of this new technology.

In particular, the internal culture plan is implemented with a view to reaching all business areas, from the members of the Board of Directors and the Management Committee to the design and innovation teams. This allows us to promote AI knowledge and ethical practices through a network of continuous and collaborative learning.

Our training portfolio includes:

  • Training courses aimed at all employees to provide a general overview on this subject and an insight into our code of conduct and the AI governance model at Telefónica.
  • Awareness-raising sessions for business areas, with the aim of promoting an ethical and responsible approach to creating AI products and services, from the initial stages of conception and design to the final stages of production and deployment, adapting them to ensure compliance with the relevant regulation(s) (currently the EU AI Act).
  • A specific training programme for RAI Champions (Responsible Artificial Intelligence Champions), who are responsible for AI in each business unit. This programme enables them to learn more about the technical and ethical aspects of AI and prepares them for their role as promoters of responsible AI in their respective areas.
  • We are also working to ensure that the information and training we provide is applicable to our day-to-day work, and with this in mind we have published two guides which may be accessed by all employees:
    • the Guide to the Use of Generative AI for employees, to ensure its responsible use in day-to-day work.
    • the Responsible AI Guide for Business Areas, as a resource for the responsible development of products and services with AI.

Our awareness-raising and training work does not stop at Telefónica. We also strive to share all that we have learned externally. We also encourage the sharing of best practices through webinars and we participate in training activities through workshops in different universities and through Fundación Telefónica sessions.

Since 2022, Telefónica has been part of the Business Council with UNESCO, with the aim of promoting a development of AI that is both ethical and respectful of human rights.

As a result of all these actions, we have developed a strong culture plan, which supports the cultural change that the democratisation of AI and its implementation in the company’s different areas both entail, in order to be able to innovate in a sustainable way.

Therefore, we fulfil our responsibility to ensure that AI is used in a way that benefits society, respects human dignity and encourages a sustainable future.


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