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Flamingo founder Catriona Wallace’s latest venture is looking into the ethics of artificial intelligence

- April 23, 2020 2 MIN READ
Dr Catriona Wallace. Photo: supplied

Entrepreneur and futurist Dr Catriona Wallace has launched a new venture helping companies investigate the ethics of artificial intelligence (AI) as it plays an increasingly important role in company automation.

Wallace is CEO of consulting firm Ethical AI Advisory, which she says will support private and public companies as they grapple with how to design and deploy AI in an ethical way.

“This rise in use of AI will bring some exceptional benefits, such as improved analytical capabilities, increased productivity, reduced cost and even increased customer experience. However, AI could also potentially do harm if not designed and deployed ethically,” she said.

The sector is growing so rapidly that it’s predicted to grow more than ten-fold over the next five years to US$391 billion by 2025.

Wallace remains actively involved in the previous venture she founded, ASX-listed Flamingo AI, as an executive director.

“The company is currently working hard supporting its clients both in Australia and the US during the COVID19 crisis,” she said

“I anticipate there will be a greater level of interest in AI across the board by Australian businesses on the back of this time, in particular supporting home-based work, information management, communications and automation.”

Flamingo AI and Dr Wallace worked closely with the Australian Human Rights Commissioner, and industry, science and technology minister Karen Andrews, to develop the federal government’s ethical AI principles, released in November 2019.

Last week Flamingo (ASX: FGO) announced it had received a $551,000 tax rebate on R&D that took place in 2019 under the federal government’s R&D tax incentive program.

While the AI sector is growing rapidly, Dr Wallace points out that there are few laws and regulations offering guidelines to developers, vendors or organisations deploying the technology, pointing to a Gartner study that there’s a likelihood that 85% of all AI projects would have erroneous outcomes in the next two years and high risks from AI data, algorithms, decisions and actions that may be biased, discriminate or erroneous.

“Artificial Intelligence will bring benefits to businesses and individuals. However, there is also scope for it to be done without consideration or knowledge of the potential harm that AI can do,” she said.

“A pertinent example was the recent release of the Apple Card which was highly criticised for its algorithm providing vastly higher  levels of credit to males than females with the same income. We have set up Ethical AI Advisory to assist organisations avoid these problems and use this powerful technology in an ethical way so as to optimise the benefits that AI will certainly bring.”