Disruptive Tech Week: Food for Thought on Artificial Intelligence

@Alejandra Acedo

Disruptive Technologies Week took place in IE University, organized by Professor Cristina Sirera and IE Law School, took place from April 3rd to April 6th. The week consisted of four conferences, centered around specific movies that presented topics of interest for students and professionals to discuss. The talks given, and their corresponding movies, included:

  • New Money, New World: Bitcoins and Cryptography (Banking on Bitcoin)
  • Artificial Intelligence: Quo Vadis? (Artificial Intelligence)
  • A World Connected, Plenty of Data All Over: Big Dat a & IOT (Minority Report)
  • Data Breaches & Cybersecurity: Are You Ready to Deal with It? (Enemy of the State)

A student-led panel on artificial intelligence and its effects on the legal atmosphere took place on April 4th at IE University. María Suárez, Partner in Privacy and Technology and Head of Management Knowledge at DA Lawyers; María José Tavalera, General Director of Iberia at VMWare; and Lluis Altés, Managing Director of Iberia at VMWare, participated in the panel and provided insights and thoughts based on their expertise.

The discussion covered a variety of topics and hypothetical questions related to future challenges and situations involving artificial intelligence, the legal implications of AI, and its relationship with human beings. Some of the key points of the discussion included the following:

IE University disruptive tech week

Artificial Intelligence

According to María José Tavalera, artificial intelligence is nothing new. It has existed and has been being developed over the past 20 to 30 years. The concept of artificial intelligence is about creating computational models which seek to replicate human behavior, and are able to learn by themselves.

Tavalera also emphasized that technology in and of itself is a neutral good; it is the use given to it by individuals that dictates whether its effect on society will be positive or negative.

Artificial Intelligence & the Industrial Revolution

Similar to what happened during the industrial revolution in the 19th century, technology will transform jobs, according to María José Tavalera. New jobs will appear and production will become consistently cheaper and more attainable.

The question “Will AI make humans lazier?” came up in discussion. According to Tavalera, it will not. It will allow us to develop more creative ideas and to innovate, rather than spending our time on mechanical tasks, as we did during the industrial revolution.

Risks & Ethical Issues

María Suárez discussed the fact that two significant risks that come with technology are profiling and automatic decision-making. Profiling means restricting or classifying people based on characteristics or stereotypes. However, this is also a current human behavior.

Lluis Altés brought up the fact that there are a variety of debates around ethics and technology. For example, how ethical is it to create humans à la carte? According to Elon Musk, technology policy should be proactive instead of reactive.

The Legal Perspective

According to Suárez, it is a challenge for lawyers to advise companies with new tech; there are a variety of issues that may arise. She asked participants to consider what would happen if a car with an automatic driver crashes. Who is liable? Is it the software developer, the actual driver, or the creator?

Talavera says that technology creates a new market. When everything is based on software, you have more litigation than ever and everything in technology is a legal race.