We are committed to responsible AI

At TELUS, we recognize the transformative potential of innovations like Artificial Intelligence (AI). We believe that AI will augment human capabilities and help deliver better outcomes to build a friendlier future.  

As part of our commitment to putting customers first, we deploy AI responsibly, following ethical principles.  This means using data with integrity and in a way that protects privacy consistent with our TELUS Privacy Commitment. It also means being transparent about how data is used.  We aim to foster an environment where AI is a tool to drive the best customer experiences and improve our communities through social good initiatives.  

AI has the potential to transform society, economic sectors and the human experience. Canada is poised to be a leader in AI, and the opportunity to capitalize on our potential is profound.

At TELUS, we strive to use AI in a manner that fosters innovation, while at the same time increasing trust with our customers by addressing privacy, security, and ethical risks. TELUS’ approach to responsible AI is grounded in our Customers First commitment, and the TELUS Trust Model, which promotes the use of data in a way that builds trust, by generating value, promoting respect and delivering security.

What is AI?

AI is a technology designed to emulate human tasks through learning and automation. This is achieved by training machines to find meaningful patterns in information, similar to what a human mind does, but at a scale which would not be possible using human intelligence alone.

There are different forms of AI, the most popular today being supervised machine learning (ML).  This is where a machine is “shown” what the desired outcome is and finds a way to achieve the outcome.  The approach determined by the machine is called an algorithm or model. Other emerging approaches to AI which are gaining momentum include deep learning and neural networks.

What is responsible AI?

Creating opportunities

The development of AI creates opportunities to improve our ways of doing things, and it can also raise new questions and ethical considerations. “Responsible AI” is an approach to AI which considers the impact of the use of AI and incorporates fairness, transparency and explainability. The focus of this type of AI is to bring about the opportunities and benefits of this new technology to increase wellbeing, generate prosperity and improve health outcomes. Inspired by Privacy by Design, it is characterized by proactive rather than reactive measures to privacy and ethics, and embeds critical thinking and controls into the design and architecture of machine learning systems. While there are a range of considerations involving the ethical use of AI, the TELUS responsible AI program is focused on building understanding of the technology and its potential impact on how data is used to further the trust relationship we have with our customers.

Responsible innovation

The TELUS approach to responsible AI builds upon TELUS’ Customers First commitment and is structured on the TELUS Trust Model by using data in a way that builds trust by generating value, promoting respect and delivering security. Our process begins with clear accountability for our use of AI, ensuring that the technology is the right fit for the circumstances.  From the outset, we are thinking about the particular beneficial outcome we are working towards and keeping fairness and the human impact top of mind.  This approach includes planning for how we will explain the model and establish ongoing monitoring to ensure it continues to work as intended. We use robust tools and processes which build upon our foundation of Privacy and Security By Design principles.  For example, we use techniques like de-identification as an important means of protecting customer privacy when the individual identity is not required.  

What are we doing?

At TELUS, we believe that the responsible use of AI will help us to serve our customers even better and will aid in our efforts to support a friendly future. Our approach extends beyond TELUS, because consumer trust in the digital ecosystem depends on the participation of all stakeholders. We are actively participating in the important global discussion taking place around AI.  We aim to influence the development of the technology to ensure opportunities available to improve people’s lives are realized, along with commercial applications that will enhance business and the digital economy. We will continue to contribute to the advancement of the dialogue around responsible AI, and the enablement of business applications that will benefit all stakeholders.

Using responsible AI

We are exploring numerous opportunities in AI within our business and believe that AI will also extend our capabilities to give back to the broader community and contribute to a friendlier future. Current AI applications are in their nascent stage, and we believe that human passion to innovate, coupled with strong ethical AI design principles, can create a powerful and positive transformation of our society.

Here are some examples of the way we use AI responsibly:


We look forward to answering any questions you may have on our responsible AI program.  Please write to us at the Data & Trust Office.

Created on November 21, 2019.