TELUS’ Declaration on Artificial Intelligence (AI) Image Generation

Progressing the path of reconciliation in a meaningful way includes the ethical use of technology and AI. Indigenous data sovereignty is crucial in this endeavor, with Indigenous Peoples controlling and protecting their cultural heritage and artistic expressions. TELUS is proud to support the artistic practices of Indigenous Peoples, while being mindful of the historic role organizations have played in the misappropriation of Indigenous art and culture. In upholding TELUS’ Commitment to Artistic Integrity, we declare that we will not use AI technology to create or replicate the art of or imagery of Indigenous Peoples.
“Honour by Design”. Artwork by Kenneth Letander, an Ojibway artist originally from Manitoba and now living in Alberta's Treaty 6 region.

Recent advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI) have introduced Generative AI into various domains, including image generation. This technology utilizes powerful models, often trained on unknown image data sources, to generate images based on a prompt from a user. By leveraging patterns and visual concepts obtained from the training data, the model can produce unique and realistic images. TELUS has been seeking input from a diverse set of voices about the hopes, opinions and concerns regarding AI. As part of this engagement, we have heard significant concerns from Indigenous Peoples about the impact of generative AI on Indigenous art, artists and visual representations of Indigenous Peoples. The generated images of Indigenous Peoples, such as First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples, may perpetuate stereotypes, inaccuracies, and even offensive representations.
Generative AI technology includes a risk of using the traditional knowledge, cultural expressions, or art of the cultures of Indigenous Peoples without permission or context. This is especially harmful to the journey of Reconciliation. We have learned that it is critical to consider the story and cultural significance of the art and imagery of Indigenous Peoples, as it may include areas of sacredness or sensitivity. It is critical that image generation through AI is Indigenous-led. As part of TELUS' commitment to artistic integrity, this declaration aims to protect Indigenous art and artists reflecting a natural extension of our commitment.
As part of our ongoing TELUS Indigenous Reconciliation Action Plan, we are committed to continuing to learn, evolve and grow to ensure we are aligned with Indigenous-led reconciliation frameworks of inclusive dialogue, collaboration and partnership. We recognize the importance of Indigenous data sovereignty, and this declaration is one small step in our ongoing learning about how to support Indigenous rights within our data ecosystem. We are also proud to support the development of Indigenous content and partner with First Nations, Inuit and Métis artists.
On the occasion of this Declaration, we collaborated with Ken Letander, an Ojibway artist, on the intent, context and development of this work. We are excited to share it with you and celebrate the cultural heritage and artistic expressions of Indigenous Peoples. We encourage you to
learn more
about how you can appropriately support Indigenous artists.
"My idea around these concepts is that there is a human hand in control of pressing a small green circle, which represents how the person chooses when and how to use AI. Behind the hand is a turtle, which represents Indigenous stories. Below is a blue river of water, which is where the green circle meets in the middle, which represents the collision of humanity and technology and how humans can use it for good, by even using AI to protect waterways and Mother Earth. To the right is a picture of a globe with lines, which represents communication lines to a tablet screen, where the turtle is looking and taking in information. However, the information representing AI isn't connected to the turtle nor the hand, as it is respecting Indigenous stories, culture, and determination."

TELUS’ commitment to artistic integrity

We are committed to supporting the artistic practices of Indigenous Peoples, while being mindful of the historic role organizations have played in the misappropriation of Indigenous art and culture. We have an obligation and responsibility to ensure that TELUS’ use of Indigenous art in our digital and physical spaces is respectful of Indigenous artists. TELUS works with each artist to ensure that they retain full intellectual property and control over their work.