Building a responsible AI future

Building a responsible AI future

As artificial intelligence continues to rapidly advance, ethical concerns around the development and deployment of these world-changing innovations are coming into sharper focus.

In an interview ahead of the AI & Big Data Expo North America, Igor Jablokov, CEO and founder of AI company Pryon, addressed these pressing issues head-on.

Critical ethical challenges in AI

“There’s not one, maybe there’s almost 20 plus of them,” Jablokov stated when asked about the most critical ethical challenges. He outlined a litany of potential pitfalls that must be carefully navigated—from AI hallucinations and emissions of falsehoods, to data privacy violations and intellectual property leaks from training on proprietary information.

Bias and adversarial content seeping into training data is another major worry, according to Jablokov. Security vulnerabilities like embedded agents and prompt injection attacks also rank highly on his list of concerns, as well as the extreme energy consumption and climate impact of large language models.

Pryon’s origins can be traced back to the earliest stirrings of modern AI over two decades ago. Jablokov previously led an advanced AI team at IBM where they designed a primitive version of what would later become Watson. “They didn’t greenlight it. And so, in my frustration, I departed, stood up our last company,” he recounted. That company, also called Pryon at the time, went on to become Amazon’s first AI-related acquisition, birthing what’s now Alexa.

The current incarnation of Pryon has aimed to confront AI’s ethical quandaries through responsible design focused on critical infrastructure and high-stakes use cases. “[We wanted to] create something purposely hardened for more critical infrastructure, essential workers, and more serious pursuits,” Jablokov explained.

A key element is offering enterprises flexibility and control over their data environments. “We give them choices in terms of how they’re consuming their platforms…from multi-tenant public cloud, to private cloud, to on-premises,” Jablokov said. This allows organisations to ring-fence highly sensitive data behind their own firewalls when needed.

Pryon also emphasises explainable AI and verifiable attribution of knowledge sources. “When our platform reveals an answer, you can tap it, and it always goes to the underlying page and highlights exactly where it learned a piece of information from,” Jablokov described. This allows human validation of the knowledge provenance.

In some realms like energy, manufacturing, and healthcare, Pryon has implemented human-in-the-loop oversight before AI-generated guidance goes to frontline workers. Jablokov pointed to one example where “supervisors can double-check the outcomes and essentially give it a badge of approval” before information reaches technicians.

Ensuring responsible AI development

Jablokov strongly advocates for new regulatory frameworks to ensure responsible AI development and deployment. While welcoming the White House’s recent executive order as a start, he expressed concerns about risks around generative AI like hallucinations, static training data, data leakage vulnerabilities, lack of access controls, copyright issues, and more.  

Pryon has been actively involved in these regulatory discussions. “We’re back-channelling to a mess of government agencies,” Jablokov said. “We’re taking an active hand in terms of contributing our perspectives on the regulatory environment as it rolls out…We’re showing up by expressing some of the risks associated with generative AI usage.”

On the potential for an uncontrolled, existential “AI risk” – as has been warned about by some AI leaders – Jablokov struck a relatively sanguine tone about Pryon’s governed approach: “We’ve always worked towards verifiable attribution…extracting out of enterprises’ own content so that they understand where the solutions are coming from, and then they decide whether they make a decision with it or not.”

The CEO firmly distanced Pryon’s mission from the emerging crop of open-ended conversational AI assistants, some of which have raised controversy around hallucinations and lacking ethical constraints.

“We’re not a clown college. Our stuff is designed to go into some of the more serious environments on planet Earth,” Jablokov stated bluntly. “I think none of you would feel comfortable ending up in an emergency room and having the medical practitioners there typing in queries into a ChatGPT, a Bing, a Bard…”

He emphasised the importance of subject matter expertise and emotional intelligence when it comes to high-stakes, real-world decision-making. “You want somebody that has hopefully many years of experience treating things similar to the ailment that you’re currently undergoing. And guess what? You like the fact that there is an emotional quality that they care about getting you better as well.”

At the upcoming AI & Big Data Expo, Pryon will unveil new enterprise use cases showcasing its platform across industries like energy, semiconductors, pharmaceuticals, and government. Jablokov teased that they will also reveal “different ways to consume the Pryon platform” beyond the end-to-end enterprise offering, including potentially lower-level access for developers.

As AI’s domain rapidly expands from narrow applications to more general capabilities, addressing the ethical risks will become only more critical. Pryon’s sustained focus on governance, verifiable knowledge sources, human oversight, and collaboration with regulators could offer a template for more responsible AI development across industries.

You can watch our full interview with Igor Jablokov below:

Want to learn more about AI and big data from industry leaders? Check out AI & Big Data Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London. The comprehensive event is co-located with other leading events including BlockX, Digital Transformation Week, and Cyber Security & Cloud Expo.

Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge here.

Tags: ai, ai & big data expo, ai and big data expo, artificial intelligence, ethics, hallucinations, igor jablokov, regulation, responsible ai, security, TechEx

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