Data Leader calls for open lines of communication to thwart AI fears

ChatGPT and AI are flooding the news agenda.

Recently OpenAI chief executive Sam Altman faced questions about Artificial Intelligence (AI) at a hearing in the US Senate. This comes hot on the heels of the ‘Godfather of AI’ Google’s Geoffrey Hinton taking to the press to share his regret about devoting his career to AI.

The use of AI isn’t new, so what’s causing this flurry of fear?

Key figures within AI are clearly having a bit of a light bulb moment – perhaps grasping the depth of the privacy and security implications that come with explosive growth.

That’s not to brand them as naive – it’s something that experts have long been aware of – innovation always moves faster than regulation is able to, but the sheer scale of this tech, seems to have triggered a tripwire where leaders are beginning to shout from the rooftops about the risks involved.

The ever-present challenge of new innovation is finding the balance between regulation and tech evolution. Clamping prohibitive legislation around a developing bubble of tech will stifle its growth. On the other hand, without some safety measures, you are essentially opening the door to risk.

The problem is compounded by the fact that AI has huge potential for sectors such as life-saving healthcare and naturally, businesses and governments hear innovation and see pound signs.

It’s easy to allow the excitement of potential to override caution. And it’s not about stamping out that enthusiasm either – it’s finding ways to harness the fervour whilst simultaneously building data governance and safety policies into the very structure of the movement. Rather than it being an afterthought.

Headlines and media buzz – although important for awareness – are dangerous in that they can easily whip up a fear frenzy. The dizzying scale of development is almost too big to fathom, making the decision of where to begin an overwhelming prospect, which can actually paralyse regulation.

So rather than getting caught up in the fear rhetoric, we need to prioritise speaking to one another, open up easy lines of communication and invite collaboration between industry leaders. Data and tech leaders have more than enough knowledge to overcome regulatory challenges. But too often the industry continues to operate in silos, only sharing information after an incident such as a data breach.

Every industry will be facing the same issues, so why not bring them, along with data leaders, around the table to proactively devise frameworks and guide rails that work for them. Instead of waiting around for the slow beast of government policy to catch up, data leaders should be putting the wheels in motion for their own regulation, now.

About the Author

Waseem Ali is CEO at Rockborne. Waseem is one of the UK’s leading data professionals and joined Rockborne in 2021 from his role as Chief Data Officer at Lloyd’s of London as he was excited by Rockborne’s potential.

He has since spearheaded the development of Rockborne’s pioneering graduate programme which is changing the face of the data industry by recruiting and training a new generation of data professionals. His scheme so far has doubled and tripled diversity quotas within the data and analytics space compared to the sector as a whole, drawing graduate candidates from a wide range of backgrounds and universities.

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