Welcome to the first post in our Spotlight series, where we will talk with a leader in a particular field or emerging area of interest to technology and sourcing lawyers and professionals.

We are kicking off the series with Andrew Gray, a partner in Morgan Lewis’s intellectual property practice, who advises companies on blockchain, cryptocurrency, computer and internet law issues, and financing and transactional matters that involve technology firms and the sale and licensing of technology. Currently, Andrew is spearheading the very popular Artificial Intelligence (AI) Boot Camp, a webinar series that features in-depth analysis of and insights into artificial intelligence.

Andrew shared with us some thoughts on AI and the impact it is having on companies in all industries and of all sizes.

Can you tell us about the AI Boot Camp and why you launched it?

AI is already impacting the future of every person and every industry. This impact will be felt more and more in the years to come. We have been working with Tableau Software, a data visualization and analytics provider, since we incorporated it in 2003. By virtue of this relationship, we increasingly began working with clients on solutions to issues that arise from big data sets. Along the way, it became clear that artificial intelligence/machine learning tools go hand in hand with big data, with the data training and teaching AI systems and the AI systems allowing users to derive insights from the chaos of the data sets. And, in recent years, these tools have developed to the point where they can do a far better job than a human in detecting anomalies in data, predicting the probability of a future outcome, and recognizing complex patterns, among other things.

These AI tools are just starting to reveal their potential. They are not only here to stay, but they are going to be pervasive in our lives. Recognizing this, we have identified those people at Morgan Lewis who have experience in dealing with various aspects of AI, and we have brought them together so that we can coordinate our activities in order to meet our clients’ needs in the years to come. The AI Boot Camp is our first major step that we have taken collectively to teach our clients about AI and the issues relating to AI that they need to address now and will need to address in the years to come.

What do you see as the top trends in the AI market for 2021?

As the incentives for taking advantage of AI innovations have increased so significantly in the last few years, spending on research, development, and deployment of AI technologies is going to grow ever faster. AI is going to make its way into all areas of industry, science, entertainment, and our lives. Indeed, as the data pouring from connected devices create ever bigger data sets, AI tools will only get better and the advantages going to those who deploy AI tools will only go up. The companies that amass the largest data sets will be the ones that are best able to take advantage of AI tools.

The trends will be for increased automation involving not just software, but also hardware devices like self-driving cars and other autonomous vehicles, robotic manufacturing tools, and household appliances. Human workers are going to be aided by more and more AI systems in doing their jobs as AI tools continue to monitor and refine business processes. AI chatbots, powered by natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning, are getting better every day. AI systems will increasingly be used in cybersecurity not only to protect personal privacy and security, but also to protect big data sets and the business that rely upon them.

Keeping AI systems safe from bad data and nefarious adversaries are significant and emerging trends. The use of AI to automate detection of things like individuals with high temperatures or the movement of people is going to be a big area of growth. AI tools will also allow for businesses to provide better and more personalized services to their customers. The smart playlists provided by innovative companies like Spotify are an example with which many people are already familiar. And, we will see more and more content being developed using or with the assistance of AI systems.

What do you think some of the top issues are in the AI space?

While AI systems can help tackle society’s most pressing challenges, and as anyone who has been attending our AI Boot Camp can attest, the reality is that AI presents a myriad of complex security, privacy, and ethical concerns with which we will be grappling for decades to come. Who is responsible if AI makes a mistake? Who owns content created by or with the assistance of AI systems? How do we identify and minimize AI bias? How do we explain the decisions made by deep-learning AI systems to those affected by them? While I do not know what the answers should be to any of these questions, I am excited about working together with others to tackle them in the years to come.