On April 24th I was happily riding my bicycle, and then, quite suddenly, I was unhappily falling off my bicycle. I am not exactly sure what happened. I looked over my shoulder, turned my head back forward, and then I was falling. I may have hit a pothole, or not seen something in the road. It doesn’t really matter. Whatever was there I would have seen too late. What mattered was the asphalt, which was quite eager to meet me.
The crash left me with various scrapes and a broken right elbow. It was not a good thing, to say the least, but I was lucky. My head didn’t hit the ground – there was not a mark on my helmet — and several people stopped to make sure I was alright.
I had surgery on the elbow, and there hasn’t been much pain. Plus, the doctor assured me that all the titanium in my arm would not set off the metal detectors at TSA.
The unfortunate thing is that my right arm is in both a rather substantial splint and a sling. As someone who is right-handed, this poses a host of challenges. Most everything is difficult, and shaving is positively terrifying.
Most important for a businessperson these days, I only have one hand to type with. Typing with just my left hand is possible, and I do it a lot. But it is slow and error prone.
Thus far, what has saved me is a feature in Microsoft Office that I had never used before: dictate. I dictated this blog post. I dictate countless emails, and I have dictated multiple descriptions of new Compliance Perspectives podcasts.
The dictate function works remarkably well. It’s not perfect, though. Oddly, it got Turteltaub right on the first try, but the word “elbow” it has heard as “yellow bell”. Nonetheless, it’s remarkably good. It also is a demonstration that artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are not some distant technologies that we read about and have to think about in the abstract. They’re already here.
Even if you haven’t used the dictation function, you have used the same technology. You can see it when you are typing along In Word or Outlook or on your phone and the next word pops up on your screen even before you wrote it.
While it is great to see this technology in action, and I certainly applaud Microsoft for how good it is and the difference it must be making in the lives of countless people who have physical challenges, those of us in compliance need to be aware that this technology is all around us, and that our organizations and colleagues are probably using it, whether they know it or not.
So, if you haven’t already, now may be a good time to check with your business units to see where they have AI and machine learning deployed, not just through homegrown solutions, but also where it exists in third party applications. That is especially important for those parts of your business that are dealing with sensitive data or in areas where bias, no matter how unintended, may start to creep in.
It is also time for all of us to start sharing our insights into this technology with each other, just as we have through the years with risk areas ranging from privacy to anti-corruption.
At several upcoming SCCE and HCCA conferences, including the Compliance & Ethics Institute, we will be addressing this topic. But between now and then I want to encourage everyone who has experience in this area to come forward. Write an article for the blog, or something longer for Compliance Today or Compliance and Ethics Professional. If you want to share your experiences in the form of a presentation, feel free to submit a proposal for a web conference.
AI is all around us, and with it comes great risk and opportunity. Let’s help each other make compliance a part of it, before it is too late.