Decoding the Future: Unravel the legal and ethical tapestry of AI

by Malcolm Mason


Recently, society has welcomed artificial intelligence (AI) with open arms and it has quickly become an integral part of day-to-day life. We asked Professional Services Consultant, and AI aficionado, Malcolm Mason for his insight and guidance on the transformative power of AI.

With more than a decade of experience in data science, Malcolm is not just an advocate for AI; he lives and breathes it, having taught algorithms to students and spoken on a global stage about leveraging AI for environmental efficiency. His pragmatic approach focuses less on policy and more on getting things done.

Something that a lot of people don’t realise is that AI has been around in some form for more than 70 years, but it's only now gaining widespread attention. From use in the 1990s to detecting viruses on local IT, the technology has quietly infiltrated various aspects of our lives. In 2010, we saw a big shift in the use of AI, with the emergence of deep-neural networks. AI has become an integral part of consumer technologies like facial recognition, virtual assistants (Alexa, Cortana), intelligence in smartphones, and services from tech giants like Google and Apple. What's striking is that many users haven't realised they've been interacting with AI for years.

Despite the prevalence of AI, there is significant catch-up required in the business-to-business (B2B) space. Beyond creating consumer-friendly experiences, businesses of all sizes are now exploring ways to automate processes, accelerate work, and harness the power of data. However, all this new data means it’s never been so important to address legal and ethical considerations; in this evolving landscape the job to be in could be in the legal profession.

In AI education, we’ve seen a shift from using computer graphic processing units within hardware to train and fine tune AI locally, to employing large and multi-modal language models to create very tailored, highly accurate AI solutions that use a diverse range of text, image, audio and video data sources. We’ve quickly adapted our ways of learning with the easy availability of large language models such as ChatGPT, however, caution should be taken to avoid potential legal pitfalls, particularly concerning copyright issues, as these models are often trained on large amounts of copyrighted data.

Looking to the future, AI is set to change everything, from self-driving cars to revolutionising online shopping. Businesses such as Amazon are already cleverly harnessing AI to increase customer engagement, as well as automate any business process where it sees fit. We can also expect to see the retail industry drastically shift from in-store shopping to an entirely virtual shopping experience, where AI-driven chatbots combined with augmented reality help customers choose products based on their preferences and needs.

Parts of the legal profession are also poised for a revolution, with AI streamlining research processes and extracting information, enabling generation of content from diverse sources effortlessly. In the finance sector, the sheer volume of data processed by AI models is expected to lead towards AI recommending and driving the human decision making. In healthcare, a week doesn’t go by without news communicating groundbreaking AI-driven advancements.

With all this change, disruption is inevitable, and we can expect to see more misinformation and a significant skills shortage occurring. Larger businesses, who are financially equipped to derive optimal value from data, may outpace smaller enterprises, intensifying competition in the AI-driven landscape.

There are challenges, but we’ve already lived through industrial revolutions and come out of it all the better, so AI’s positive potential impact on efficiency, intelligence capabilities, and accuracy heavily outweighs the anxiety of what may come.
AI is here to stay, and with practical experience, ethical considerations, and a forward-looking perspective, the future is certainly looking bright. As AI continues to reshape industries, businesses and individuals alike must navigate this evolving terrain with awareness and a commitment to responsible AI adoption.

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