The tremendous increase in the volume of data produced globally combined with the accelerated growth in capacity for processing this data – including artificial intelligence (AI) in particular – is opening up vast new opportunities for individuals, for the economy and for society as a whole.
This revolution in terms of AI and data that is currently underway gives us the power to focus on what is essential and to better anticipate the future, while simplifying and improving our daily lives. In the health sector specifically, AI is used to discern potential precursor signs of disease that might not yet be visible to the naked eye.
To help us better understand our environment, AI has the potential to reliably and dynamically map the state of the climate or of a particular animal species, for instance.
To give an example from another sector, AI is paving the way for the development of autonomous vehicles, which will radically transform the way we travel.
With respect to companies and their specific requirements, AI is the key to handling the complexity of the markets better, for example through increased information processing speeds, the optimisation and automation of business processes, or a dynamic, tailored offering.
However, just as the Internet revolution began 25 years ago, the implementation of this large-scale revolution will be complex and time-consuming. At Orange, we believe that this revolution needs to be supported if it is to be responsible, respectful and useful for human beings.
But… what exactly is AI?
Commiting to ethical AI
We’re committed to limiting and controlling the risks associated with AI by paying particular attention to data governance. We do everything we can to configure algorithms that limit bias and errors, especially when the results are used to help people make decisions. We constantly analyse the risks and oversee all processes to enable human intervention if necessary.
Not only does AI enable us to research, test and reduce the energy consumption of our infrastructure, we’re actually developing more energy-efficient AI techniques and computation systems. What’s more, we’re supporting a wide range of initiatives to promote an ethical and rational use of AI and data, such as our collaboration with the Impact IA think tank, which was created in 2018 with Microsoft and other French partners, as well as the International Charter for Inclusive AI set up by the Arborus fund, signed in April 2020.
Orange is also one of 52 independent experts representing academia, industry and civil society that is part of the European Commission's High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence (HLEG AI), setting standards for the ethical development and use of AI.
Supporting "soft" and ethical AI
We are committed to limiting and controlling the risks associated with AI by placing particular focus on data governance. We are setting parameters for algorithms in the best way possible in order to limit bias and error, particularly where the results are used by humans to inform their decision-making, or for automated decision-making. We are constantly analysing the risks and are implementing monitoring systems, allowing AI to improve itself and humans to adjust these parameters if necessary.
We are actively conducting experiments and research into how AI can be used to optimise and reduce energy consumption across our infrastructure. We are also developing AI that has less processing power and is therefore less energy intensive. We support initiatives that promote the ethical and sensible use of AI and data, such as the Impact AI think tank – founded in 2018 and supported by Microsoft and other players in the French digital ecosystem – and the "International Charter for inclusive Artificial Intelligence" from the Arborus Fund, signed in April 2020.
We have also contributed to the work of the High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence, appointed by the European Commission.
AI: central to our goals
Orange's new strategic plan, Engage 2025, puts AI and data at the heart of its innovation model. Our ambition is to make Orange a data-driven company, with the aim of increasing our agility and performance whilst enhancing our social and environmental leadership. To do this, we are developing programmes in three main areas:
Making our networks smarter:
network virtualisation and automation; intelligent management of network resources to ensure that they are optimally allocated while maintaining service quality; failure prediction and predictive maintenance on network equipment, etc.
Improving our operational efficiency:
fighting against fraud through the implementation of monitoring solutions capable of using AI to detect suspicious and/or fraudulent behaviour on our mobile or fixed networks and in our banking services, detecting abnormal electricity consumption on the
Reinventing the customer experience:
combining the best of the digital and human worlds to create a genuine "augmented customer experience" based on an omni-channel, fluid, simple and personalised relationship, both in respect of the services we offer and the customer journey.
Providing valuable services while using data responsibly
In the field of business services, we are supporting our customers in the implementation of IA and data solutions to enable them to become more agile and efficient. Orange Business Services (OBS) offers solutions designed to transform the customer experience (e.g. chatbots, data mining for call centres, etc.), improve business processes (e.g. predictive maintenance, computer vision for quality control, etc.), protect information systems (e.g. problem detection and troubleshooting, cybersecurity, etc.) and implement responsible management and data governance.
Our commitment to ecosystems
Having already been actively involved in the development of technologies and competencies relating to AI and data analysis for several years, Orange is investing in French and European ecosystems for research and innovation and is joining forces with numerous start-ups and industrial partners. Some examples:
- Providing funding for research activities carried out by public institutions and the SystemX and b<>com technology research institutes.
- Participation in the European initiative AI4EU and the European Commission's High-Level Eexpert Ggroup on Aartificial Iintelligence (HLEG on AI).
- Collaboration with the four Interdisciplinary Institutes of Artificial Intelligence (3IA) created by the French government in 2018.
- Signing a strategic R&D framework contract between Orange and NTT in order for both companies to share the results of their research in several key areas, including 5G, AI, IoT and cybersecurity.
- Member of the French consortium “Manifeste IA” alongside some fifteen industry players to support French sovereignty over AI in certain strategic areas.