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Dec 12, 2023

Getting to grips with AI: Knowing when to use it – and when not to

Highlights from Governance Intelligence’s AI for Governance Forum

Governance Intelligence recently held its AI for Governance Forum, which was designed to provide governance teams at publicly listed companies with a blueprint for the responsible use of artificial intelligence (AI) to supercharge their activities in the boardroom.

 The event, held in New York, brought together AI professionals from the buy side, technology industry experts and successful AI implementers among issuers. It offered practical checklists for effectively implementing an AI-powered governance strategy in 2024.

During the opening session, speakers engaged in conversations about how companies are gearing up for an impending ‘AI revolution’ and shared valuable insights on crafting a strategic roadmap for effective AI governance. The discussion veered into the ethical considerations governance professionals should consider when building their own AI platform and tools.

Steven Kelts, a lecturer at the Princeton University Center for Information Technology Policy, said: ‘You have to start with a set of guiding principles, but those are going to be somewhat abstract and vague, until you actually get into establishing your governance framework and your governance processes.

‘When you’re establishing a set of principles, you should also have practicing lawyers who are experienced with privacy governance frameworks, or cyber-security governance frameworks, because your AI governance framework is going to build on previous frameworks.’

Influence of AI

Later in the day, a session aimed at improving AI literacy and learning from early adopters looked at exploring the evolving influence of AI on the functions and duties of corporate secretaries, general counsel and other in-house legal professionals and stakeholders.

The panel kicked off discussions around the skills gaps that currently exist when thinking about AI and the governance professional. Kevin Fumai, assistant general counsel at Oracle, began by explaining how his company is constantly trying to improve its responsible AI program.

‘AI is critical, but this is the early stage of this generative AI frontier that we’re all embarking upon together,’ he said. ‘I view it – and hopefully all of you as governance professionals will view it – as the opportunity of a lifetime for yourselves and also, much more importantly, for your company. It’s so early and people are trying to figure out what it is, what those risks mean in context and what they mean as everything continues to change.’

When asked how Oracle employees are already using AI tools, Fumai said that because the company is pro-innovation, ‘we have very clear guidelines for when it can and cannot be used’.

‘The tremendous amount of data that goes into greenhouse gas uses and Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 emissions, that’s the sort of data that is ripe for the application of AI,’ he said.

For more information on how corporate secretaries can deploy AI click here to access the new Governance Playbook: A guide to using generative AI in board management.

Partners for the event included Notified, Govenda and Nasdaq