Technology disruption, AI and Linklaters

Why did we put this toolkit together

Businesses must constantly evolve in response to disruption from new technology. From the rapid development of computing, to mobile technology, to the internet; it is not the strongest that survive but the most adaptable to change.

Artificial intelligence is part of the next disruptive wave. There is no immediate prospect of human-like consciousness (entities like HAL or Ultron remain safely in the realms of science fiction) but in recent years there have been significant developments in narrow artificial intelligence – tools that can take on increasingly complex domain-specific problems.

It is difficult to know how far these changes will take us and if the current AI summer will eventually be followed by another AI winter. In the meantime, there is room for optimism this technology will continue to deliver new and exciting capabilities.

We prepared this toolkit for a number of reasons. It provides an opportunity to share our experience experimenting with artificial intelligence at Linklaters. Sections of the report reflect our own successes and frustrations trying to harness this new technology. It also reflects our work with clients either directly helping deploy of artificial intelligence tools or with the closely related questions about the use and exploitation of Big Data.

As much as anything, we wanted to really grapple with the challenges raised by this technology. These systems are intended to be intelligent – to analyse, decide and act with a degree of independence from their maker – but their inner workings are opaque and likely unknowable. Delegating decisions to a machine you don’t fully understand, and that has no common sense or ethical safety value, is interesting.

The toolkit is intended to help you grapple with this conundrum. It also addresses a wide range of related issues from “ownership” of artificial intelligence to specific regulatory controls on its use. It draws on expertise from across Linklaters in areas such as privacy, intellectual property, employment, competition and financial services regulation.

If you want to use this exciting new technology, you need to do so ethically, safely and lawfully. We hope this toolkit helps with that process.

Download your copy of Ethical, safe, lawful: a toolkit for artificial intelligence projects.