Women In AI: Lee Tiedrich, AI expert at the Global AI Partnership

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To give AI academics and others their much-deserved – and overdue – time in the spotlight, TechCrunch is launching a interview series focusing on remarkable women who have contributed to the AI ​​revolution. We’ll be publishing several articles throughout the year as the AI ​​boom continues, highlighting key work that often remains overlooked. Read more profiles here.

As an AI expert with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Global Partnership on AI (GPAI), an international initiative to promote responsible use of AI, Tiedrich develops approaches for AI that assess and manage risks while aligning law, policy and practice with science. She served on the faculty of Duke University and advised a number of companies, and was a longtime associate at the law firm Covington & Burling LLP.

Tiedrich, a technology transactions and intellectual property attorney, also served on the Biden campaign’s policy committee and is registered to practice with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

Lee Tiedrich, Global AI Partnership

In short, how did you get started in AI? What attracted you to the field?

I have worked at the intersection of technology, law and policy for decades, starting with cellular, then the Internet and e-commerce, until today. I am passionate about helping organizations maximize the benefits of emerging technologies and mitigate risks in a complex and rapidly changing legal environment. I’ve been working on AI issues for years, long before it hit the headlines, back when I was a partner at Covington & Burling LLP. In 2018, as the commercial use of AI and legal challenges increased, I became co-chair of Covington’s global, multidisciplinary group.
Artificial Intelligence Initiative and have focused more of my practice on AI, including AI governance, compliance, transactions and government affairs.

What work are you most proud of (in the field of AI)?

Realizing the benefits of AI and mitigating the risks requires global, multidisciplinary solutions. I am proud of my in-depth work that unites different disciplines, geographies, and cultures to help solve these pressing challenges. This work began while we were working in Covington on AI.
governance and other matters with clients’ lawyers, engineers and sales teams. Most recently, as a member of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Global Partnership on AI (GPAI) Global AI Expert Groups, I have worked on a range of high-stakes multidisciplinary questions in AI, including AI governance, responsible sharing of AI data and models, and how to address climate, intellectual property, and privacy issues in an AI-driven world . I co-lead both the GPAI Intellectual Property Committee and the Responsible AI for the Environment Strategy Committee (RAISE). My multidisciplinary work also extends to Duke, where I designed and taught a course that brings together graduate students from different programs to work on real-world responsible technology issues with the OECD, corporations, and others. It’s very rewarding to help prepare the next generation of AI leaders to tackle the multidisciplinary challenges of AI.

How can we meet the challenges of a male-dominated technology sector and, by extension, the male-dominated AI sector?

I have navigated male-dominated fields for much of my life, starting as an undergraduate at Duke, where I was among the few female electrical engineering students. I was also the 22nd woman elected to the Covington Partnership and my practice focused on technology.

Navigating male-dominated industries starts with doing a great job of innovating and communicating it with confidence. This increases demand for your work and generally leads to more opportunities. Women should also focus on building good relationships within the AI ​​ecosystem. This helps to train important mentors and sponsors as well as clients and customers. I also encourage women to use their network to proactively seek opportunities to expand their knowledge, profile and experience, which may include participation in industry associations and other activities.

Finally, I urge women to invest in themselves. There are many resources and networks that can help women navigate and advance in AI and other industries. Women must set goals, identify and capitalize on resources that can help them achieve these goals.

What advice would you give to women looking to enter the AI ​​field?

There are many opportunities in the field of AI, including for engineers, data scientists, lawyers, economists, and business and government affairs experts. I encourage women to find an aspect of the AI ​​field that they are passionate about and pursue it. People often excel more when they work on topics that interest them.

Women should also invest in developing and promoting their expertise. This may include joining professional associations, attending networking events, writing an article, speaking in public, or pursuing continuing legal education. Given the wide range of new and challenging questions, A.I.
Presently, there are many opportunities for young professionals to quickly become experts. Women should seize these opportunities proactively. Building expertise and a good professional network can help.

What are the most pressing issues facing AI as it evolves?

AI holds great promise for advancing global prosperity, security and social good, including helping to combat climate change and achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. However, if not developed or used properly, AI can pose security and other risks, including to individuals and the environment. Society faces the grand challenge of developing frameworks that unlock the benefits of AI and mitigate the risks. This requires multidisciplinary collaboration, as laws and policies must take into account relevant technologies as well as market and societal realities. Since technology transcends borders, international harmonization is also important. Standards and other tools can help advance international harmonization, especially as legal frameworks vary across jurisdictions.

What issues should AI users be aware of?

I recently called for a global learning campaign on AI in an article I published with the OECD. This explains the urgent need for users to be aware of the benefits and risks of the AI ​​applications they are considering using. This knowledge will enable them to make better decisions about whether and how to use AI applications, including how to mitigate risks.

Additionally, AI users should be aware that AI has become increasingly regulated and litigious. Government application of AI is also growing, and AI users may be liable for damages caused by AI systems made available by their third-party providers. To reduce potential liability and other risks, AI users should establish proactive AI governance and compliance programs to manage their AI deployments. They should also do due diligence on third-party AI systems before agreeing to use them.

What is the best way to develop AI responsibly?

Responsibly creating and deploying AI requires many important steps. This starts with publicly adopting and advocating the right values ​​of responsible AI to serve as a North Star, such as those embodied by the OECD AI Principles. Given the complexity of AI, it is also essential to develop and implement an AI governance framework that applies throughout the AI ​​system lifecycle and promotes multidisciplinary collaboration between technical, legal, business, sustainability and other experts. The governance framework should take into account NIST AI Risk Management Framework and other important advice, in addition to ensuring compliance with applicable laws. As the legal and technological landscape of AI evolves rapidly, the governance framework must enable the organization to respond with agility to new developments.

How can investors better promote responsible AI?

Investors generally have several ways to promote responsible AI within portfolio companies. To start, they should make responsible AI an investment priority. Besides being the right thing to do, it’s good for business. Market demand for responsible AI is increasing, which is expected to increase the profitability of portfolio companies. Additionally, in our increasingly regulated and litigious AI world, responsible AI practices should reduce litigation risks and potential reputational damage caused by poorly designed AI.

Investors can also promote responsible AI by exercising oversight through their board appointments. Increasingly, corporate boards are extending their oversight to technology issues. They should also consider structuring investments to include other monitoring mechanisms.

Additionally, although not addressed in investment agreements, investors can introduce portfolio companies to potential responsible AI hires or consultants and encourage and support their engagement in the AI ​​ecosystem. Responsible AI in constant expansion.

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