AI Ethics Expert Azadeh Williams Says ‘Black Mirror Could Become A Terrifying Reality’

Robyn Foyster Robyn Foyster has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
on 28 June 2023

Sydney-based Azadeh Williams, founder of AZK Media, recently joined the executive board of Global AI Ethics Institute. Here, she talks about her concerns for the future of AI, the need for regulation and how companies can build frameworks to navigate AI.

What is your main concern about AI?

AI is evolving far more rapidly than our legal and regulatory frameworks can keep up with, which is very concerning.  Businesses and individuals could be at significant risk if we end up in a ‘Wild West AI’ scenario, where those dystopian scenes of Black Mirror could become a terrifying reality.

AI also poses a significant challenge because nobody is entirely sure how AI systems will behave. As the saying goes, “You are what you eat” –so what are we feeding these AI machines, and what will be their decision-making capabilities, especially if we feed them the ‘wrong’ nutrients …

How can we best regulate AI?

As a start, we need more qualified thought leaders and experts in AI on proactive decision-making committees. Now by thought leaders, I don’t mean those thousands of self-proclaimed AI experts, parading around on LinkedIn whose social posts are produced by ChatGPT. We need vetted AI experts, legal specialists and data scientists to come together in a highly strategic way to create sustainable and scalable regulatory frameworks. The regulation of AI also needs to be very administratively agile, so it can keep up with the pace of technological change.

Importantly, regulatory frameworks need to be clearly defined and drafted in a direct, easy-to-understand way that can be easily applied by business decision-makers. As a technology communications professional, I cannot stress how vital this clarity is to ensure we apply the rules and laws in a way that doesn’t waste valuable money and time.

What are your main objectives with your new board role?

The Global AI Ethics Institute is a unique forum in which cultural diversity can be fully and openly expressed with regard to ethics applied to AI. Given my leadership role at AZK Media, where we lead AI and technology media and PR and marketing campaigns, my new executive board appointment will leverage my communications skills to help drive the Institute’s core mission.

What can companies do to build frameworks to navigate AI?

Companies can take several steps to build frameworks to navigate AI effectively:

  1. Define a clear AI strategy: Outline how AI aligns with the company’s goals and objectives. Identify the specific areas where AI can provide value, save time and money and minimise business risk – then prioritise them, accordingly.
  2. Establish a cross-functional AI team: This could include experts in data science, engineering, ethics, law, HR and business strategy. Companies need skilled professionals who understand AI technologies and their implications, so take the time to invest in training and hiring the right talent.
  3. Develop data governance practices: Data is crucial for AI, so establish ethical data governance practices. This includes ensuring data quality, privacy, security and compliance. Create robust policies and procedures for data collection, storage, usage and retention.
  4. Encourage an ethical and responsible AI approach: Develop ethical guidelines for AI usage that promote transparency, fairness and accountability in AI systems. Regularly evaluate and mitigate biases that may arise in data or algorithms.
  5. Foster a culture of innovation: Create an environment where employees are empowered to experiment, collaborate and uncover fresh AI-driven solutions.
  6. Ensure regulatory compliance: Educate and stay up-to-date on the latest laws and regulations, governing AI in your industry. Continuously monitor, evaluate and improve AI systems and address any performance or ethical issues.
  7. Stay adaptable and agile: AI is evolving fast. Maintain flexibility and openness to adapt to new advancements and market trends. Continuously reassess and refine your AI strategy to align with changing business needs.

Do you use AI? How?

At AZK Media, we’ve used various AI-enabled tools in our tech stack to help scale our media, marketing and PR campaigns. Otter.AI is a great tool for transcription, which many of us used when we were global technology journalists. Grammarly is also helpful in ‘proofreading’ content, while ChatGPT is also helpful to prompt different heading or sub-heading ideas for specialised tech topics. We also use AI-enabled PR tools like Meltwater and Muckrack to help monitor and measure our PR efforts.

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