“I just can’t with AI anymore,” an exasperated in-house colleague said, “It’s developing too quickly, and I’m stretched too thin.”
We can all relate, right?
Still, managing AI risks remains essential, especially for product development teams creating new AI-powered products and integrating AI into existing products. As a general counsel or in-house lawyer, you play a vital role in educating, guiding, and supporting your product development team. Here’s how.
Educate Teams About Potential AI Risks
If there’s one thing product development team members tend to lack, it’s your acute awareness of the potential risks associated with AI. Those may be technical risks, such as bias and error rates, or legal and ethical risks such as privacy violations and discrimination.
Product teams simply don’t know what they don’t know. Educate them on the potential AI issues in their use cases. Explain how these risks could affect the company legally, financially, and reputationally. They need this information to make more-informed decisions when designing and implementing AI-powered products.
Develop Risk Mitigation Policies
Education is vital, but alone, it’s not enough. Product teams also need guidance on how to mitigate risks. You may need to develop or contribute to developing the following:
- policies, practices, and procedures around data privacy and security;
- strategies to ensure AI algorithms are transparent and explainable;
- “red team” exercises to simulate risks and develop mitigation plans;
- documentation for conducting a thorough investigation of incidents; and
- other measures to remain compliant with regulations and ethical standards as AI evolves.
Your relationship-building skills will get a workout as you collaborate with several departments, such as IT and compliance, to ensure your policies are implemented effectively and to iterate as needed.
Provide Legal Support And Advice
While they’re busy dreaming up revolutionary ways to use AI, product teams aren’t focused on AI’s evolving legal landscape. Doing so requires staying up-to-date on relevant laws and regulations, such as GDPR and CCPA, and working with outside counsel when necessary. Your voice is vital when deciding when and how to involve outside counsel and in explaining issues to them.
Your advice and support can give your product development team the confidence to create imaginative and potentially groundbreaking new products. They don’t have to feel hampered by doubts you can quickly alleviate. At the same time, you can rest assured that they comply with all applicable laws and regulations.
Foster A Culture Of Ethical AI
Nearly 87% of GCs see themselves as the conscience of the company, a sentiment that positions them to foster a companywide culture of ethical AI. Encourage team members to prioritize fairness, transparency, and accountability when designing AI-powered products. Familiarize developers with their work’s potential social and ethical implications and inspire them to think creatively about solutions.
With the proper guidance and support, you can help your company navigate AI risk management and create innovative new products that benefit customers and the bottom line.
Where do you stand on AI in product development? Do you have an AI strategy in place? Would you say your team is committed to ethical AI? Share your thoughts!
Olga V. Mack is the VP at LexisNexis and CEO of Parley Pro, a next-generation contract management company that has pioneered online negotiation technology. Olga embraces legal innovation and had dedicated her career to improving and shaping the future of law. She is convinced that the legal profession will emerge even stronger, more resilient, and more inclusive than before by embracing technology. Olga is also an award-winning general counsel, operations professional, startup advisor, public speaker, adjunct professor, and entrepreneur. She founded the Women Serve on Boards movement that advocates for women to participate on corporate boards of Fortune 500 companies. She authored Get on Board: Earning Your Ticket to a Corporate Board Seat, Fundamentals of Smart Contract Security, and Blockchain Value: Transforming Business Models, Society, and Communities. She is working on Visual IQ for Lawyers, her next book (ABA 2023). You can follow Olga on Twitter @olgavmack.
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