IBM's new tool to govern generative AI to be available from December 5

The watsonx.governance tool will help businesses manage risk, embrace transparency and comply with future artificial intelligence-focused regulations, company says

Generative AI could add nearly $4.4 trillion annually to the global economy, according to a new study by consultancy McKinsey. Getty Images
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US company IBM has announced the general availability of its new generative artificial intelligence governance tool from December 5, as it pushes forward with its AI ambitions.

Called watsonx.governance, the new technology will be offered globally as a SaaS (software-as-a-service) model through IBM cloud, where users can subscribe to remote-hosted applications per their business needs.

The tool will help businesses eliminate mystery around the data and also meet regulatory requirements related to the new technology, IBM said.

Generative AI, which is powered by large language models, has the potential to transform the way companies and people work.

Businesses are using a mix of LLMs from their own in-house research, third-party tech providers and open source communities to reap the full benefits of technology.

But it also poses new risks and complexities, including training data scraped from corners of the internet that cannot be validated as fair and accurate, and sometimes it also lacks explainable outputs.

Watsonx.governance aims to “provide organisations a toolkit to manage risk, embrace transparency, and anticipate compliance with future AI-focused regulation”, IBM said in a media roundtable.

Besides mitigating biases, it will also enable them to manage, monitor and govern AI models from wherever they choose.

It involves making the generative AI process transparent and understandable to ensure there are no hidden or unclear aspects about how the data is being handled and used, IBM said.

The new tool is one of three software products in the IBM watsonx AI and data platform that was originally launched in July.

Since then “thousands of pilots and experiments are being executed on the watsonx platform”, said Ana Paula Assis, IBM’s general manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa, who did not disclose the exact number of users thus far.

“The platform is quite new, but we are seeing tremendous amount of interest,” Ms Assis said.

“Good AI is governed AI … our new solution introduces metrics [within the platform] that are associated with the quality of AI models … [it] defines the levels of threshold and the moment that threshold is crossed, an alert goes to the owner of the use cases to take an immediate action.”

Currently, the development of generative AI technology is concentrated within a handful of large companies based in the US, the world’s largest economy.

Microsoft-backed OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard are two front-runners in the burgeoning field. In September, the Abu Dhabi government-supported research centre the Technology Innovation Institute launched Falcon 180B – an advanced version of its flagship language model – to boost generative AI capabilities in the region.

“Having an understanding of what is there in your data, its quality … and being transparent about the whole process is very important,” Christina Montgomery, IBM’s chief privacy and trust officer, told the roundtable.

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“Our new model can govern any AI model whether it is made by businesses themselves or by [the] third parties. While making this model, we have ensured that human oversight always remains a critical element during all stages of governance.”

Generative AI could add nearly $4.4 trillion annually to the global economy and will transform productivity across sectors with continued investment in the technology, according to a new study by consultancy McKinsey.

It has “enormous” economic potential and could raise global labour productivity growth by more than one percentage point a year in the next decade, Goldman Sachs said in a report in July.

In the short term, AI investment could grow quickly in the next couple of years, approaching $100 billion in the US and $200 billion globally by 2025, the report added.

“Our new platform is for everyone using AI … whether a publicly listed company or a private firm … but I would say primarily it targets companies that work under stricter regulatory environment,” said Ms Assis.

In May, the company's chief executive Arvind Krishna said IBM expects to pause hiring for roles it thinks could be replaced with artificial intelligence in the coming years.

Updated: November 15, 2023, 11:38 AM