William Fry: In-house lawyers will play central role in implementing AI technologies

William Fry: In-house lawyers will play central role in implementing AI technologies

Pictured (left–right): William Fry partners David Cullen and David Kirton, senior associate Rachel Hayes and consultant Barry Scannell

In-house lawyers will play a central role in their organisations’ implementation of AI technologies and must keep up-to-date with technological and legal developments in the area, lawyers from William Fry have said.

The law firm today hosted a masterclass for in-house counsels on the evolving landscape of artificial intelligence (AI) law, hosted by technology group partner David Kirton.

The panel of experts included David Cullen, head of the firm’s technology group; Rachel Hayes, senior associate and data protection expert in the technology group; and AI law expert Barry Scannell, a consultant in the technology group.

One of the major themes was the forthcoming AI regulations including the EU AI Act and the EU Liability Directives, and their interplay with existing laws such as the GDPR. The AI Act is bound to have a significant impact on businesses and will bring with it a whole new layer of regulatory obligations general counsels will need to contend with.

The panel emphasised the significant role that general counsels will play in safely implementing large language models like ChatGPT.

Mr Scannell addressed issues around the use of such large language models from data protection issues to copyright considerations.

Ms Hayes pointed out that while AI is a novel technology, it essentially processes data, and the underlying rules remain unchanged. Therefore, it is crucial to establish robust data governance, ensuring safe implementation of this technology and compliance with forthcoming legislation when enacted.

Mr Cullen tackled the sensitive subject of liability issues that may arise from the use of AI. He underscored the importance of reviewing contracts with a keen eye on IP and liability considerations.

Mr Kirton, summarising the discussion, noted: “As AI technology evolves, so too must our understanding and application of the law. This masterclass has been about bridging that knowledge gap, and preparing for the challenges and opportunities presented by AI, which William Fry as leading experts in AI law is uniquely poised to assist with.”

Mr Scannell added: “The explosion we are experiencing in the advancement of AI technologies has been triggered by the explosion we have seen in Big Data. AI is trained on data and its growth is due to the massive amounts of data now available for it to feed on.

“By 2025, we will be producing as much data every three minutes as all of human civilisation did up to the year 2003.

“In-house lawyers are the interface of their organisations with AI implementation, and the burden of safely implementing and integrating AI systems will fall on their shoulders — allowing in-house lawyers to be the champions of AI progress within their companies.”

Share icon
Share this article: