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25 June 2020

REWE Group releases ‘AI Manifesto’


By developers, for developers: A manifesto for using artificial intelligence responsibly

A human hand touching an artificial hand through glass

Cologne. Developing projects around artificial intelligence (AI) requires forward-looking and reliable guidelines and directives, and this is the central theme of the ‘AI Manifesto’ that the REWE Group released at a German Retail Federation (HDE) event in connection with Digital Day 2020. With the release of the document, which focuses on the ethics of artificial intelligence, the REWE Group has expanded its consistently held and long-standing fundamental ethical principles to include the digital domain. Many areas of the company have contributed to developing the manifesto under the guidance of experts at REWE digital.

“Various areas of the REWE Group have been engaging with AI and AI applications for some time. At REWE digital, we have been and are continuing to intensely monitor the somewhat controversial discussions on ethics and artificial intelligence. It was important to us to devise guidelines and an operating framework for developers that incorporate ethical considerations and are also transparent and comprehensible. The existing models did not go far enough in that respect, nor were they useful for developers to put into practice in any way,” says Dr Robert Zores, CTO of REWE digital.

REWE Group sets standards with ‘AI Manifesto’

The goal of the interdisciplinary working group – comprised of experts from the areas of technology, research & development, communication, and public affairs – was to write a comprehensive manifesto that clearly and comprehensibly puts forth solid recommendations to follow when developing AI applications. The group did just that. The document’s convenient format helps all colleagues quickly orient themselves to the common standards, internalise them, and apply them to their daily development activities in tangible ways. There have been very few comparable examples in German business thus far. The REWE Group and REWE digital are thereby cementing their position as pioneers in the online trade of food and all nutritional, kitchen and household products, not only now, but also in the future.

“Our ‘AI Manifesto’ has the future in its sights. It is not a rigid document, but instead it is a living manifesto that will be updated as technology advances. We are confident that the manifesto will serve as an indispensable foundation for developing sustainable and responsible systems. It should also generate an awareness of the potential risks and hazards of using AI technology, as well as a certain amount of humility, so that we are always mindful of the possible consequences of using AI improperly,” continues Dr Robert Zores.

The ‘AI Manifesto’ can be viewed here: https://ai-manifesto.rewe-digital.com/en

The cooperatively organised REWE Group is one of the leading trade and tourism groups in Germany and Europe. In 2019, the company generated a total external turnover of around 63 billion euros. Founded in 1927, the REWE Group has more than 360,000 employees in 24 European countries.

Sales lines include REWE, REWE CENTER, BILLA, MERKUR and ADEG supermarkets and consumer stores, the discounter PENNY, BIPA health and beauty store, and the toom Baumarkt DIY stores, as well as REWE To Go convenience stores and REWE Lieferservice and Zooroyal e-commerce platforms. The Lekkerland Group is the REWE Group business unit that is responsible for wholesales to convenience stores. Travel and tourism under the umbrella of DER Touristik Group includes the tour operators ITS, Jahn Reisen, Dertour, Meier’s Weltreisen, ADAC Reisen, Kuoni, Helvetic Tours, Apollo and Exim Tours, and more than 2,400 travel agencies (including DER Reisebüro, DERPART and partners), the hotel chains ITI Hotels, Club Calimera, COOEE, PrimaSol and Playitas Resort, and the direct tour operator, clevertours.com.