Talking Business: Artifical Intelligence: Privacy Best Practices, Advice from Expert Panel in NYC

A panel of experts gathered in the West Soho Tech center of Manhattan on March 13th to discuss Artificial Intelligence (AI) Privacy, an event organized by Ana Valdes, the founder of

The topics the panel discussed included responsibility for customer data that is provided to organizations; improved ROI from proper management and the severe consequences of mistakes; being multi-disciplined in managing data;  the perils of complete automation; outsourcing as a solution and finally, the complexity of developing enterprise level solutions.

Several panelists discussed how the proactive stewardship of customer data and the use of artificial intelligence when interacting can produce positive results and avoid devastating outcomes. “There is good return on investment in treating customers well, telling customers what you are going to do and when,” commented Reid Blackman, Ph.D. CEO of Virtue. “Businesses need to care about what their customers and employees think about how the business is treating them regarding their privacy, there is a financial reason for taking privacy concerns seriously.”

The long time Colgate University professor commented that taking care of privacy concerns of consumers is not just responsibility of risk managers, but of CEOS who care about the reputation of their brands. “The last thing you want to do is go viral for all the wrong reasons,” he said. “We saw Facebook go viral for all the wrong reasons. Facebook can survive that, but for many companies that is an existential risk for them.”

“It is a multi-disciplinary effort that will make data privacy more robust and relevant,” said Raz Choudhury CEO of  However, he cautioned, “When decisions are being made by agents or in algorithms of AI, that is when we need to look into discrimination, or discrimination based on biased data, or decision-making by BOTs that is not relevant.”

Can privacy be a concern when data analysts stockpile data for research projects? Panelist Jennifer Shin, Founder of 8 Path Solutions, commented from her experience, “Analysts, don’t always know what they will do with data, but will gather as much data as they can, and don’t protect it."

Moderator Xena Ugrinsky, CEO of GenreX Consulting, noted, “Some industries have decided there are some functions they will not automate. There is an overreaching thought in the market that AI is going to take everyone’s job.” He cautioned, “What we are going to see 2019 being about, is an over application of automation with a subsequent pull back.”

Ugrinsky, author of Enterprise AI - Your Field Guide to the New Business Normal, sited automotive maker Tesla which created two full automated assembly lines at great cost. He went on to explain that Tesla then created an environment where they systematically pulled the automation out and added humans back into the process. Ugrinsky concluded, “They found it to be a qualitative issue and they have found the cost of that level of automation isn’t warranted.”

When the panel debated outsourcing, panelist Jennifer Shin, Founder of 8 Path Solutions, commented

“Never underestimate that you can outsource certain things with the technology. If you don’t want to store the data yourself, are unsure how much security you can insure, you can go to Amazon, go to other third parties, and still build out what you need. Not trying to do everything yourself is going to be important.” In contrast to Shin, Ugrinsky remarked about using the cloud, “Do I know where my data is? No?”