Sony Group's Initiatives for Responsible AI

Sony, with the aim of utilizing AI technology to enrich people's life styles and contribute to the development of society, will pursue accountability and transparency while actively engaging in dialogue with stakeholders. We will continue to promote responsible AI in order to maintain the trust of products and services by stakeholders.

Sony Group AI Ethics Guidelines

Sony established the Sony Group AI Ethics Guidelines in September 2018.

Through the utilization of artificial intelligence (AI), Sony aims to contribute to the development of a peaceful and sustainable society while delivering kando - a sense of excitement, wonder or emotion - to the world. Starting from the electronics business, Sony has continued to expand its business area and has become a diverse global company that offers entertainment such as music and movies, as well as financial services. To operate these business areas based on Sony's Purpose to "Fill the world with emotion, through the power of creativity and technology.", Sony Group AI Ethics Guidelines are hereby set forth below to ensure and promote a dialogue with various stakeholders and the proper utilization and research and development ("R&D") of AI within Sony Group.

Through advancing its AI-related R&D and promoting the utilization of AI in a manner harmonized with society, Sony aims to support the exploration of the potential for each individual to empower their lives, and to contribute to enrichment of our culture and push our civilization forward by providing novel and creative types of kando. Sony will engage in sustainable social development and endeavor to utilize the power of AI for contributing to global problem-solving and for the development of a peaceful and sustainable society.

In order to solve the challenges arising from use of AI while striving for better AI utilization, Sony will seriously consider the interests and concerns of various stakeholders including its customers and creators, and proactively advance a dialogue with related industries, organizations, academic communities and more. For this purpose, Sony will construct the appropriate channels for ensuring that the content and results of these discussions are provided to officers and employees, including researchers and developers, who are involved in the corresponding businesses, as well as for ensuring further engagement with its various stakeholders.

Sony understands the need for safety when dealing with products and services utilizing AI and will continue to respond to security risks such as unauthorized access. AI systems may utilize statistical or probabilistic methods to achieve results. In the interest of Sony's customers and to maintain their trust, Sony will design whole systems with an awareness of the responsibility associated with the characteristics of such methods.

Sony, in compliance with laws and regulations as well as applicable internal rules and policies, seeks to enhance the security and protection of customers' personal data acquired via products and services utilizing AI, and build an environment where said personal data is processed in ways that respect the intention and trust of customers.

In its utilization of AI, Sony will respect diversity and human rights of its customers and other stakeholders without any discrimination while striving to contribute to the resolution of social problems through its activities in its own and related industries.

During the planning and design stages for its products and services that utilize AI, Sony will strive to introduce methods of capturing the reasoning behind the decisions made by AI utilized in said products and services. Additionally, it will endeavor to provide intelligible explanations and information to customers about the possible impact of using these products and services.

People's lives have continuously changed with the advance in technology across history. Sony will be cognizant of the effects and impact of products and services that utilize AI on society and will proactively work to contribute to developing AI to create a better society and foster human talent capable of shaping our collective bright future through R&D and/or utilization of AI.

AI Ethics: Promotion & Projects

The Sony Group AI Ethics Committee, established in 2019, examines AI use cases to ensure compliance with the Sony Group AI Ethics Guidelines.
In 2021, the AI Ethics Office was established to provide subject matter expertise on AI ethics to all Sony business units. In addition, Sony has established a notification system for AI utilization in products, services, and internal operations in Sony Group's business units, to share information on AI ethics risks.
In March 2021, in accordance with the Sony Group AI Ethics Guidelines, Sony established an internal document stipulating requirements to be complied with in the commercialization process of electronic products and services, and in July 2021 started conducting AI ethics assessments in the product development life cycle. Sony uses e-learning tools to promote an understanding of AI ethics among its employees and invites speakers from outside the company to discuss this issue at lectures and symposia.

Sony actively pursues dialogue with relevant companies, organizations, and the academic community on ethical issues surrounding AI utilization, while considering the interests of diverse stakeholders, including customers and creators.
In May 2017, Sony became the first Japanese company to join the Partnership on AI to Benefit People and Society (PAI), a non-profit organization created to contribute to solutions for some of humanity's challenging problems, including advancing the understanding of AI and addressing ethics surrounding AI technology. One of the most common issues in AI ethics is that of fairness, transparency, and accountability, abbreviated as "FTA." Sony utilizes knowledge it has gained from its AI and robotics related research, development, and business ventures and contributes to a number of working groups addressing this issue. Sony chaired the Social and Societal Influences of AI Working Group, which focuses on the social impacts of AI, and currently serves as an expert advisor for PAI's strategic planning. Sony also serves on the steering committee for ABOUT ML,* an initiative to improve the transparency of machine learning. Sony also serves as an expert advisor to the Explainability Research Project and Diversity and Inclusion Research Project.

* ABOUT ML stands for "Annotation and Benchmarking on Understanding and Transparency of Machine Learning Lifecycles."

Sony's Global Head of AI Ethics is also one of the General Chairs of the 2022 ACM Conference on Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency (FAccT), the premier conference on sociotechnical algorithmic systems.

Sony is also involved with Japanese initiatives to establish principles and guidelines that promote the utilization of AI for social good. These initiatives include the AI Utilization Strategy published by Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) in February 2019 and the Social Principles of Human-centric AI published by Japan's Cabinet Office in March 2019. Sony is currently a member of the Conference toward AI Network Society, a group within the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications whose goal is the comprehensive study of the social, economic, ethical, and legal factors involved in the promotion of AI networks throughout society as a whole.

Additionally, Sony is a participant in the Global Partnership on AI, an initiative launched in June 2020 to promote the development and utilization of AI based on human-centric principles, and serves as a member of the AI and Pandemic Response Subgroup, a working group that aids the development of responsible AI solutions for epidemics of infectious disease such as COVID-19.

Sony pursues R&D for AI that is trusted and backed by solid technologies, and is engaged in technical initiatives related to AI ethics. As a solution for securing FTA, Sony equipped its AI development tool Neural Network Console with eXplainable AI (XAI) to make it easy to use. XAI is a technology that enables people to understand the logic behind AI decision-making, an area often called the "black box" since it is not always immediately apparent. Sony has also released its machine learning fairness library and Responsible AI XAI source code as open source software.

Additionally, Sony provided its Prediction One predictive analysis tool with the ability to visualize the predictive reasoning.

In 2021, Sony also launched the AI ethics flagship within Sony AI with projects to conduct cutting-edge research on the challenges faced in the development of AI products and services, including ethical data collection and algorithmic fairness. Taking advantage of its position as a company that extends across a wide range of industries, Sony will put fair and transparent AI into practice, leveraging its global and diverse perspective.


  • ・Being 'Seen' vs. 'Mis-Seen': Tensions between Privacy and Fairness in Computer Vision
    Alice Xiang
    Harvard Journal of Law & Technology, Forthcoming
  • ・Promises and Challenges of Causality for Ethical Machine Learning
    Aida Rahmattalabi, Alice Xiang
    arXiv preprint
  • ・Reconciling Legal and Technical Approaches to Algorithmic Bias
    Alice Xiang
    88 Tennessee Law Review 649
  • ・Data Cleansing for Deep Neural Networks with Storage-efficient Approximation of Influence Functions
    Kenji Suzuki, Yoshiyuki Kobayashi, Takuya Narihira
    The 24th Meeting on Image Recognition and Understanding (MIRU2021), arXiv preprint
  • ・Adversarial Attacks for Tabular Data: Application to Fraud Detection and Imbalanced Data
    Francesco Cartella, Orlando Anunciação, Yuki Funabiki, Daisuke Yamaguchi, Toru Akishita, Olivier Elshocht
    SafeAI@AAAI 2021, arXiv preprint

Related Sony Group Initiatives

Integrity and Sincerity are the key Values to achieving Sony's Purpose. The Sony Group Code of Conduct sets forth a standard of daily behavior based on these Values. The Code of Conduct supports Sony's value creation and serves as the basis for earning the trust for the Sony brand through the ethical and responsible conduct of every Sony Group employee.

Sony's policy on respect for human rights is stipulated in the Sony Group Code of Conduct. All Group companies are required to respect human rights and conduct sincere business operations in accordance with this policy and any related laws and regulations. In regards to ethical issues related to the use of AI, we are responding sincerely from the perspective of fairness and transparency while engaging in dialogue with stakeholders.

Sony, with regard to its philosophy and basic policy on product quality and customer service, aims to improve quality and customer service from the customer's point of view in a way that can provide customers with a sense of "satisfaction", "trust", and "safety".

In order to protect the privacy and personal information of customers, employees and other stakeholders, Sony carries out continuous activities under a system of governance over the entire Group in such a way that allows us to effectively manage potential risks and incorporate measures to protect privacy into our systems and products, and we are working hard on the utilization of AI as part of these activities.

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