Our AI Journey

AI Ethics: Shaping Responsible Innovation at Springer Nature

Imogen Rose is Director of AI Ethics and Policy Governance at Springer Nature. She  started her career in surgical immunology at Imperial College in London at a time when technology was just beginning its story and she was fascinated by the potential creative ways we could tackle challenges in more controlled and measurable ways. Imogen developed technology solutions to help us predict onset of post surgical sepsis.


Imogen Rose

Director, AI Ethics & Policy Governance

Springer Nature Group

The Emergence of AI and Its Implications

As tech has advanced, the creative possibilities have become endless and AI has certainly exploded the field and made it available to everyone. Just about a year ago, I created an AI solution at Springer Nature, which led me to carefully consider the ethics around how we are deploying this amazing technology. AI is a very powerful tool, but it is a tool and it's important to make sure that we are responsible and safe as we develop products and solutions using it. In my current role, I work to safeguard Springer Nature’s commitment to placing human-centred values at the heart of our approach to the responsible use of AI.

I love the energy and enthusiasm of our AI innovation teams. The creativity and commitment to excellence is infectious and fires me up to make sure that their dreams and hard work is taken forward safely by guardrailing and mitigating any ethical issues that may slow them down.

AI - Potential to Boost Scholarly Publishing

The scholarly publishing industry is the hub for the distribution of important new research and opinions that our research community entrust to us. Bringing in AI technology opens up so many ways to help advance the publishing process and give our researchers a cutting edge experience of the process by providing efficient, new and safe ways to showcase, manage and share their content.

Springer Nature staff are already very highly motivated and creative. I am super excited to see what ideas and products are developed that pushes this company into a whole new way of interacting with researchers and tackling research information distribution.

Deep Dive into AI Ethics

AI Ethics is the study and practice of ethical principles and guidelines concerning the development and deployment of AI systems. It involves addressing the moral and societal implications of AI technologies to ensure that they align with human values, respect fundamental rights, and contribute positively to society.
AI ethics aims to address a range of problems and challenges associated with the development, deployment, and impact of AI systems. Some specific issues include:

  • Bias and Fairness: AI systems can inherit biases present in training data, leading to unfair or discriminatory outcomes.
  • Transparency and Explainability: Many AI algorithms operate as "black boxes," making it difficult to understand their decision-making processes.
  • Privacy Concerns: AI applications often involve the processing of vast amounts of personal data, raising concerns about individual privacy.
  • Security Risks: AI systems can be vulnerable to attacks, leading to unauthorised access, manipulation, or malicious use.
  • Lack of Accountability: When AI systems make decisions, it can be challenging to attribute responsibility or accountability.
  • Societal Impact: AI technologies may contribute to job displacement, economic inequality, and other societal challenges.
  • Environmental Impact: The training and operation of complex AI models can have a significant environmental footprint.
  • Discrimination: AI systems may inadvertently perpetuate or exacerbate existing inequalities or discriminatory practices.

Overall, AI ethics aims to ensure that the development and deployment of AI technologies align with human values, respect fundamental rights, and contribute positively to society while minimising potential harms and risks.

Ensuring an Ethical Approach - Springer Nature’s AI Principles

I chair the AI Ethics Forum which is part of the Springer Nature AI governance  structure. This forum drafted and published Springer Nature’s AI Principles. The forum is committed to helping our innovation teams to uphold these principles and to adhere to global ethics regulations. We enable them to do so by providing training, AI ethics’ risk evaluation and advice. In addition, I am also very involved with AI editorial policy, which helps our editorial teams make sure that Springer Nature’s editorial policy is in line with community expectations and global requirements.

Guarding the Future of AI Innovation

The ultimate aim really is to arm our innovation teams with ethics guardrails they can weave into the very design of their products and solutions so that they are future proofed from upcoming regulations. We want to provide the world with AI based solutions and products that they can trust.

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