Is “AI ethics” the new term for “data protection”?

In an exclusive conversation with ET Edge Insights, Ms. Moumita Sarker, Director Deloitte discusses value, impact, and learning from mistakes.


Could you tell us what is data to you?

Honestly – it is my bread and butter. However, beyond its financial significance, it resonates deeply with my passions, constituting what I live for and hold dear.

How do all of us ensure a data driven mindset across teams and people? How can organisations go about that?

I have been discussing this topic quite a lot. While skills and capability development are crucial and often the focus of training programs, the mindset aspect is equally important. Leaders and managers play a vital role in nurturing a logical mindset. Skills can be acquired and improved over time, but the ability to approach data in a logical and curious manner is foundational. Cultivating a curious mindset is paramount; it involves breaking down data into smaller components and asking “why” questions, like a child’s instinctive curiosity.

Design thinking workshops offered by some organisations are pivotal in promoting creative thinking. Alongside theoretical and classroom sessions, incorporating these workshops fosters lateral thinking and encourages data practitioners to delve deeper into their analyses. As more organisations adopt these practices, a better breed of data scientists, technologists, and technical experts will emerge.

Reframing as “AI ethics,” rather than just “data protection,” we emphasise adhering to this framework. With millions of individuals, from aspiring entrepreneurs to emerging leaders, could you provide insights on effectively operating within these frameworks?

With new laws emerging in response to the data explosion, the landscape is evolving rapidly. Data protection and AI ethics are two different things. When addressing AI challenges or utilising algorithms, practitioners must uphold key principles. Firstly, checking solutions for biases is essential.

Additionally, assessing data sources for potential privacy breaches is crucial. A comprehensive framework guides this process, including governance principles. The scale of the solution shouldn’t alter this approach; trustworthiness is paramount when dispersing it. Biases and potential privacy violations must be assessed.

Cultivating a mindset of ongoing evaluation and accountability within organisations which prompts a question, “Is there a guardrail and a process checking happening?” is vital. Every company has their own frameworks. There are some standard ones which are followed globally, and there are some localised versions of it. Organisations must equip their practitioners, including tech experts, AI specialists, and data scientists. This practice should be like assessing a mental checklist before sharing a solution.

Your journey has been empowering and serves as an inspiration. To the aspiring young talents in this sector seeking their path, what guidance do you have for them to navigate toward success?

I have touched on part of this, but continuous learning remains number one. I still feel excited when I encounter new faces in technology and eagerly delve into research. Second, for those transitioning from hands-on roles like tech execution, shifting focus to adoption is vital.

Evaluating how solutions benefit the organisation and articulating their value becomes essential – making the value mindset just as important as the curious one. By establishing a value framework and nurturing curiosity, emerging leaders can bring about meaningful change.

As they progress to oversee bigger landscapes and teams, empowerment and leadership building become crucial. Sharing not just successes, but also learned failures is essential; personal failures, whether in technology choices or modelling, offer valuable lessons. Learning from these diverse mistakes fosters growth, making it a journey of continuous improvement.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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