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Walmart commits to secure, transparent AI usage

Walmart AI pledge
Walmart is issuing a Responsible AI Pledge.

Walmart is issuing a new public guarantee that it will only develop and deploy artificial intelligence (AI) technology in a safe and ethical manner.

The discount chain is releasing the Walmart Responsible AI Pledge. The pledge is centered around six commitments that the company says highlight how customers, members and associates can expect us to use AI responsibly, and throughout all phases of AI technology:

  1. Transparency: Walmart will commit to helping customers, members and associates understand how data and technology, including AI, are being used by the company and what its goals are as it uses AI 
  2. Security: The retailer will use advanced security measures to protect consumer data. Walmart will commit to continuously reviewing security practices aimed at mitigating current and emerging threats.
  3. Privacy: Walmart will commit to evaluating AI systems so that the sensitive or confidential information it stores is used in ways that protect privacy.
  4. Fairness: The discounter will evaluate AI tools for bias that have the potential to affect the lives of its customers, members and associates. Walmart will seek to mitigate bias and commit to regular evaluations.
  5. Accountability: Walmart will use AI managed by people and commit to holding itself accountable for the impact of AI.
  6. Customer-centricity: The retailer will measure customer satisfaction with AI interactions and listen to feedback, and commit to continual reviews of its AI tools to ensure the technology is accurate, relevant and helping consumers and employees.

In July 2023, chief Walmart rival Amazon joined six other high-tech companies in a Biden administration-supported initiative committing to the safe, secure and transparent development of AI. The other participating companies are Google, Meta, Microsoft, OpenAI, Anthropic and Inflection.

“We are a people-led, tech-powered company and we hold four core values: we act with integrity, respect the individual, serve our customers and members and strive for excellence,” said Nuala O’Connorsenior VP and chief counsel, digital citizenship, Walmart. Along with our purpose of saving people money and helping them live better, these values continue to be our cornerstones as we change many other aspects of our company.”

Walmart develops AI tools

Walmart rolled out the Walmart GenAI Playground, an early-stage internal generative AI tool where employees  can explore and learn about the new technology in June 2023 and included a generative AI assistant in an employee app it launched in August 2023, is now testing several generative AI-based search and shopping solutions.

Walmart is also developing generative AI tools to assist customers with search, as well as complex purchases, such as selecting an age-appropriate cell phone that’s compatible with their current wireless provider. In addition, the retailer is researching how the technology can aid consumer decision-making by creating tools that highlight priority product features and condense reviews into concise summaries.

In other generative AI efforts, Walmart is experimenting with a new tool that would integrate the technology into its recently upgraded augmented reality (AR)-based View in Your Home feature and virtual try-on solutions.

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