CIONET Trailblazer: Preventing AI Unleashed: Ethical and Legal Frontiers

Published by Charlotte Coen
December 20, 2023 @ 8:57 AM

In this CIONET Trailblazer episode, "Preventing AI Unleashed: Ethical and Legal Frontiers," we delve into the transformative impact of generative AI. Joining us are Wouter Travers, a Technology Advisory expert at PwC, and Loïc Delanghe, Senior Managing Associate IP/IT/Data law and a Certified Data Protection Expert at PwC Legal. Together, we'll explore the reshaping of industries through AI and the crucial need for aligning technological advancements with ethical and legal benchmarks.

Generative AI: A Paradigm Shift in Technology and Society

Most digital workers have integrated, experimented with, or at least heard of the wonders of generative AI. While we can safely say that a true revolution is underway affecting sectors as varied as marketing, entertainment, education, or healthcare Generative AI integration can only reach its full potential where ethical and legal aspects are duly considered. Wouter and Loïc delve into this critical balance.

Integration of IT and AI: A Vision of Harmonious Progress

“As we look towards the next decade, the role of Generative AI in transforming business models and enhancing operational efficiencies is undeniable. We can now turn data into texts, images, audio, or video in a fraction of the time it used to take. At PwC, we don’t consider this as a mere trend. It’s a necessity,” explains Wouter Travers, adding that PwC’s vision revolves around three key aspects:

  1.  IT and AI Alignment: Strategies and governance should be aligned if we are to make generative AI solutions coincide with business goals, all this while adhering to ethical principles and regulatory requirements.
  2.  Co-creation and Collaboration: Utilising agile methodologies and a human-centred approach, we aim to co-create AI solutions, fostering a culture of innovation.
  3.  Empowerment through AI: Enhancing our clients' capabilities with AI tools that boost productivity and improve decision-making.

The Ethical and Legal Landscape of AI Innovation

“The quest to harmonise AI innovation with legal, ethical, and responsible practices is a complex one, to say the least. It’s the one-billion-euro question,” Loïc Delanghe argues. “This is all very new for both companies and regulators, which means some kind of legal interpretation and benchmarking will be needed to clarify what is allowed, expected, authorised, and prohibited. For now, only one thing is certain: there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution towards compliance.”

Olivier Lallemand (5)PwC Legal advocates for a nuanced understanding of legality, ethics, and responsibility aspects. The concept of legality consists of making sure that AI systems meet legal norms, like the EU's AI Act and the GDPR. The concept of ethics, on the other hand, is about evaluating AI's contribution to the common good and its alignment with societal values. Finally, responsibility focuses on assessing AI's societal and individual impact and developing remedial strategies for potential negative outcomes.

“There is, of course, a certain level of interplay between these elements. For example, the guidelines on Trustworthy AI – published by the Independent High-Level Expert Group on AI of the European Commission - indicate that for AI to be trustworthy and ethical, it must be lawful. Moreover, the new AI Act requires companies to do post-market risk assessments (responsible aspect) but also "fundamental rights impact assessments" or FRIA (ethical aspect),” says Loïc Delanghe.

PwC assists its clients in navigating these areas through workshops, legal advice, and integrated solutions, ensuring innovation coexists with ethical and legal requirements.

AI's Impact on Society: A Collaborative Approach

“With AI's vast influence across sectors, collaboration is crucial. PwC Belgium is at the forefront, promoting responsible AI through initiatives on Responsible AI. We are committed to helping our clients reap the benefits while minimising the risks.”

1-Dec-18-2023-04-35-02-9171-PM“A certain Uncle Ben used to say, ‘With great power comes great responsibility’, and the question here is clearly, how can we avoid the pitfalls of bias, privacy, security, and ethics that may arise from the deployment of AI systems? How can we foster trust and transparency among all stakeholders? This requires cooperation,” Wouter Travers points out.

“A key example of such cooperation is the AI for Good platform – a multi-stakeholder forum that brings together experts, civil society, industry, and policymakers to discuss the future of AI. Through participation in this forum, we are committed to driving industry-wide standards and best practices, ensuring AI's responsible and beneficial use.”

The Human Element in AI: Beyond Technology

Maintaining a human-centric approach is vital when considering AI integration in work processes. PwC Legal emphasises the importance of Human Oversight, not just as a legal requirement, but as a crucial ethical safeguard.

“It should be known that the AI Act – unlike the GDPR – is a text that regulates the safety of a product, it does not directly provide rights to the data subjects,” Delanghe explains. “It is therefore essential that within each company, a human level is maintained at the end of the line to ensure the proper functioning of AI. But it doesn’t stop there.”

Conclusion: Paving the Way for a Responsible AI Future

Together with PwC, we believe that human oversight should be ensured at three levels. The first is transparency and comprehensibility: we need to deliver AI systems that are understandable and transparent to users. The other two are the integration of human oversight – that is, determining the role, time, and scope of human intervention in AI processes – and impact assessment. For business, the latter means considering AI's impact on individuals and integrating these assessments into development and usage.

All in all, PwC and PwC Legal are committed to leading the way in integrating IT and AI, balancing innovation with responsibility, fostering collaborative ecosystems, and prioritising the human element in AI implementations. “Our joint approach is not just about leveraging technology. It’s about creating a sustainable, ethical, and legally compliant future for AI.”, as to Loïc and Wouter.


No Comments Yet

Let us know what you think

You May Also Like

These Stories on CIONET Belgium

Subscribe by Email