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  • Ahead in the Cloud: Understanding the Ethics of Algorithms, AI, and Automation with Emre Kazim

    January 23, 2023
  • Holistic AI founder, Emre Kazim, discusses the importance of getting ethics, trust and transparency right in the early days of the algorithmic age.

    Hosted by Chad Watt, researcher and writer with the Infosys Knowledge Institute.

    “The last decade was dominated by data, and this decade will be dominated by algorithms.”

    “The marriage of the computational power with the data sets is really what's giving birth to this current AI paradigm, the specific area of AI that we're doing.”

    “If you ask people how many times are you using an algorithm or what's an AI, for some reason Google doesn't spring to mind, but every one of us is doing a search.”

    - Emre Kazim


  • Studying the ethics of algorithms and not doing it in industry or in the world is the equivalent of studying medicine and not spending a day in the hospital. We really wanted to have an impact. We wanted to do this in the real world.
  • I think the problem that people get wrong with AI is they think that it is something that's still in the science fiction realm. But it's just automation. And understanding that this is automation is the logical conclusion of the digital transformation. And the next wave will be the algorithmic age. So the last decade was dominated by data and this decade will be dominated by algorithms.
  • We've got this explosion in algorithmic use. Companies have to automate to remain competitive. But automating brings up their existential risks. And the trustworthy AI side is necessary for the adoption of algorithms. As the use of algorithms scales, the risk management frameworks will scale too.
  • One of the things that's really interesting is: if you ask people how many times are you using an algorithm or what's an AI, for some reason, a Google doesn't spring to mind. But every one of us is doing a search, many times a day. So we've been using algorithms from very early on. It's the kind of explosion of these digital technologies occurring at the same time.
  • When you ask someone what Google does, most people can understand it. It's able to search information on your behalf and rank that information in a way which it thinks is the most consumed. But understanding what it does behind the screen, what's happening in the black box, is a different kind of question. That's the kind of question that you do need to have an expertise to answer, which is what we are doing.
  • What's happening now is the impetus through regulation and through kind of market motivations and customers concern is how can we maximize the transparency in this space so that we can understand why is Google's algorithm ranking this search above another. Why this term above another term, why conjugating these words with each other and so on and so forth. So the real question is really being able to maximize transparency.
  • One of the things that we've found as a business is - we often go in and the first question we ask is, how many systems do you actually have? And seldom anyone is actually able to answer that question. So before doing the risk management, a company has to know that answer.
  • We see through the numbers that the AI adoption is just moving exponentially up. And this is having a significant impact on the technology adoption and on the implications of these systems in sectors outside of traditional technology.

Show Notes

  • 00:06

    Chad introduces himself and Emre

  • 00:30

    What is the current focus of your research work at UCL?

  • 00:55

    What is AI?

  • 01:35

    In the context of artificial intelligence, what is an algorithm?

  • 01:52

    Tell me a little bit about Holistic AI. What led you and Adriano Koshiyama to start this enterprise?

  • 02:33

    So between your academic research and your business activities, what is it that business leaders most commonly get wrong about AI?

  • 03:06

    Why are we talking about this so much right now? How do we get from the information age to this algorithmic age, the time where every business is jumping into AI somehow?

  • 04:28

    Automation predates artificial intelligence. Computers and programming have been doing some forms of automation. What is different about AI driven automation compared with kind of process programmatic automation?

  • 05:03

    Some of our research at the Knowledge Institute led us to the position that AI itself is not new, but it is very much newly democratized and available to companies of a wide range of technological proficiency. Do you concur and what's the thing that led to this?

  • 05:40

    That proximity really lead to understanding, do we really understand what AI is doing?

  • 07:26

    How do you make AI ethics that's proactive and not just kind of reacting and banding over things that we've seen go incorrect?

  • 10:19

    How do you prove that these are the proper steps and that they are actually in place and functioning in an organization?

  • 11:01

    So you mentioned risk management, as we've said, AI ethics is a new field, risk management is something that we have experience with. Are there some other established areas you can use to build the foundation of AI ethics and bring kind of business practices or known quantities to the build a foundation?

  • 12:30

    Emri talks about AI algorithms and processes.

  • 13:31

    Where do you see a major AI breakthrough? We've been talking about generative AI already. Is that the area or is there some other area?

  • 14:10

    In the context of business AI, what progress do you expect from business AI, particularly among non-technology companies, not the Googles and the Apples in the world, these generalists who are getting in?

About Emre Kazim

Emre Kazim

Dr Emre Kazim, is co-founder and COO of Holistic AI - the leading platform provider for AI Risk Management.