Catriona Wallace launches ethical AI consulting firm

23 April 2020 3 min. read

A new consulting firm has launched in Sydney. Ethical AI Advisory specialises in the ethical side of artificial intelligence and machine learning and is spearheaded by Catriona Wallace. 

Company founder Wallace brings over two decades of experience to the table, and is one of Australia’s most cited experts and speakers on artificial Intelligence and ethics & human rights in technology. She also has considerable executive experience under her belt, having previously served as CEO of ASX-listed Flamingo Ai, becoming only the second woman ever to run an ASX-listed company.

Under the Ethical AI Advisory brand, Wallace will provide advisory services to chief executives, company boards and management teams on the design and development of frameworks and toolkits for ethical artificial intelligence. In addition, the start-up consulting firm will offer education, coaching and mentoring services related to the development of team or individual’s artificial intelligence capabilities. 

Commenting on the need for more ethics to be injected into technology, she said, “This rise in use of artificial intelligence will bring some exceptional benefits, such as improved analytical capabilities, increased productivity, reduced cost and even increased customer experience. However, it could also potentially do harm if not designed and deployed ethically.”

Catriona Wallace, Founder at Ethical AI

The move comes amid a burgeoning artificial intelligence industry. According to one study, the sector which a decade ago still was in its infancy is now worth nearly US$40 billion globally, but stellar growth is set to lift industry revenues to nearly US$400 billion by 2025. 

However, in sync with the advent of artificial intelligence comes the growing concern about how the technology is intruding privacy realms, and how algorithms can sometimes conflict with business and human ethics. Examples of such cases are widespread, such as Apple’s recently launched Apple Card algorithms which provided 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 artificial intelligence will certainly bring,” said Wallace.

According to Gartner, Ethical AI Advisory’s area of focus is facing a sunny outlook. The global research agency estimates that around 85% of all artificial intelligence projects would have erroneous outcomes in the next two years. Unable to ground their developments on laws and regulations, organisations will in turn need to tap experts to help them craft their own guidelines as they seek to eliminate biased, discriminatory or erroneous outcomes. 

The consultancy will also work with public sector organisations, with Wallace leveraging her experienced working with government bodies on ethical artificial intelligence practices. In 2019, the company founder worked closely with the Australian Human Rights Commissioner, Ed Santow and the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews, on developing frameworks and guidelines on such guidelines.