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An Interview with Dr. Catriona Wallace

by | Oct 12, 2021 | Interviews,

Dr. Catriona Wallace

Dr. Catriona Wallace

CEO at Ethical AI Advisory, part of Gradient Institute

Key Topics:Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Future of Work, Ethical & Responsible AI, Diversity & Inclusion

Dr. Catriona Wallace is a specialist in the field of Artificial Intelligence and is an AI company founder, Adjunct Professor, keynote speaker, Chair of an AI Venture Capital Fund, and is the Director of the Gradient Institute, a Responsible AI consultancy. Based on her extensive experience in AI, and working between the US and Australia, Catriona delivers keynote speeches globally on topics including Artificial Intelligence and Digital Transformation, Responsible Technology, the Future of Work and Diversity and Inclusion. Catriona has been recognised by the Australian Financial Review as the Most Influential Woman in Business & Entrepreneurship.

How did you get to become an expert in your key topics?

I did a PhD where my thesis was ‘The role technology played in substituting for human leaders’. I then went on to found one of Australia’s first AI start-ups, Flamingo AI, which we operated from the US and Australia before exiting in 2020. I now work as the Executive Chair of an AI Venture Capital Fund, Boab AI, and I founded the consulting firm, Ethical AI Advisory which has recently merged with Gradient Institute. I am managed by a global talent agent for keynote speaking and I have been speaking on the topic of AI, internationally, for about 10 years. I work extensively with governments advising on AI and responsible AI and have recently released one of the world’s first dedicated studies on Responsible AI. I am an Adjunct Professor at the Australian Graduate School of Management where I am writing a book on AI harms and remedies. I also Co-Chair Sir Richard Branson’s the B Team’s AI Coalition.

What sub-topics are you most passionate about?

The topics I am most passionate about are Awareness and education on AI for non-technical people; diversity and inclusion practices for AI; the future of work – human+machine; Ethical AI; Responsible AI; women in tech leadership and the Existential Threat and Opportunity that AI poses; AI and Indigenous Wisdom and a quirky one – the role of psychedelics and technology design.

Who influences you within these topics?

What challenges are brands facing in this space?

Challenges relate very much to whether brands can be trusted when they deploy AI. Leaders and consumers alike are fearful of AI. There is a low level of knowledge about the responsible use of AI so there is considerable scope for AI to do unintended harm. Brands would do well to learn about then plan and implement Responsible AI frameworks and practices.

What do you think the future holds in this space?

The future is incredibly exciting. We are in the era of transhumanism where robots and humans start to interact more frequently and will eventually merge. This will bring vast efficiencies, scale, automation, and better decision-making for humans. We will no longer need to do mundane tasks. Non-biological brains and other body parts and functions will be commonplace in the next ten years and great inroads will be made in MedTech, health tech, and social tech. However, with this great advance for humanity also comes the darker side – where we will see greater surveillance, control, and discriminatory outcomes as a result of the use of unregulated AI. Hence we now urgently need to see the emergence of Ethical Leaders in AI.

What brands are leading the way in this space?

In AI the brands that are leading the way, whether in a good or poor way, are the tech giants and social media companies: Amazon, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Baidu, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. Other companies leading in AI include Netflix, Boston Robotics, Hanson Robotics. And in Australia, it would be Gradient Institute, IAG, Telstra, National Australia Bank, and Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

If a brand wanted to work with you, which activities would you be most interested in collaborating on?

I would be interested in collaborating on market research, podcasts, speaking, video interviews, product innovation, ethical and responsible AI and existential risk AI topics as well as anything to do with women in AI.

What are your passions outside of work?

Family, wellness and exercise, philanthropy, Indigenous, and shamanic wisdom and practices, psychedelics, farming, animals and nature, book writing at the moment, and being part of a conscious community

What would be the best way for a brand to contact you?

By Email

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