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The rise of AI: Time to expand your governance framework

Joanne Fischlin (joannelegal@icloud.com) is head of corporate, external & legal affairs at Microsoft Gulf, Dubai, UAE.

A few years back, we entered what Klaus Schwab, executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, first called the fourth industrial revolution.[1] Just like previous industrial revolutions, it has changed the dynamics of our society, creating new opportunities, retiring others, and giving rise to great innovation. Yet one thing is significantly different. The difference today is the sheer ubiquity of technology in our lives and the speed of change. It took 38 years for the radio to reach 50 million users, 13 years for the television to reach that number, and less than a year for Facebook to do the same.[2] The pace of innovation and its adoption by companies and consumers is frankly mind-blowing.

For legal, compliance, and business ethics professionals, we are hardly getting our heads around what artificial intelligence (AI) is, how it works, the risks associated with such a technology, and what safeguards we should be thinking about now that it has invaded our workplaces, not to mention our personal lives. What this means is that the companies we work for are no longer just active in their sector; they are also all slowly becoming technology companies themselves, bringing yet another set of challenges. The pace of AI’s innovation and its proximity to human intelligence affects us at personal and societal levels and requires us to think broadly about these issues, way beyond a simple checklist.

In this article, we explore how AI and its adoption by businesses across all sectors bring an additional set of challenges that legal and compliance professionals will need to assess, mitigate, and monitor to ensure fair, transparent, accountable, and explainable use of AI in their organization.

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