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Nov 28, 2018

Carole Piovesan, a lawyer at McCarthy Tetrault. She is a respected leader in the area of AI and law. 

Carole is known to apply creativity, strategic thinking and a multi-disciplinary approach to helping clients solve complex problems associated with all these new exponential technologies.

She is the co-lead of their national Cybersecurity, Privacy and Data Management group, as well as the firm lead on Artificial Intelligence (AI). Carole is also the editor of the CyberLex blog, one of Canada’s most widely read blogs on law and data.


Episode Overview:


  • What exactly is AI & the legal and ethical considerations from both a consumer and a business perspective
  • How lots of new roles are being created in this space
  • Whether AI should be recognized as people
  • How FREE is not FREE
  • How we should use legal as part of the end to end design - Outside - IN view

As Canada becomes a leader in AI research, there are lots of best practices that companies can learn and adopt.  Let’s start at the beginning, for our listeners out there


How Carole define Artificial Intelligence (AI)


It is a computer system and algorithm that is analyzing massive amount of data for the purposes of identifying trends and ultimately making predictions on those trends. We also discussed the confusion between machine learning and artificial intelligence where machine Learning - learning from the past - to define the rules  to become more predictive.

Machine learning is an application of artificial intelligence (AI) that provides systems the ability to automatically learn and improve from experience without being explicitly programmed.

We’ve had Dr. Ann Cavoukian on the podcast a couple of times and she really emphasizes about privacy and how this is a big concern. You can check out our episode here: Ep1: Privacy, the foundation of your freedom featuring Dr. Ann Cavoukian

In the white paper that Carole co-wrote, co-author of the firm’s White Paper entitled, “From Chatbots to Self-Driving Cars: The Legal Risks of Adopting AI in your Business”. The point about AI is, it is creating a system that can reduce operational cost and do things that other humans could otherwise do faster, more accurately and cheaper.


What are some of the big ethical considerations that we should think about?


We need to use the approach of data mindfully and responsibly. We also need to understand that artificial intelligence or the massive data sector that is being used for a predictive value will go forward. AI is using the data that existed 10 years ago and the questions would become, “what was 10 years ago and what would we like in the next 10 years look like”.

Movie mentioned: Minority Report with Tom Cruise


With GDPR that came into play and the Cambridge Scandal - what concerns does this open up?


Canada has privacy legislation that is almost 20 years old and it is principled base unlike the GDPR that is more prescriptive but its essence aligns well with GDPR in protecting the privacy of Canadians.

Listen to our episode with Dr. Ann Cavokian to learn more about GDPR: Ep28: Insiders Guide to GDPR & turning it into a competitive advantage with Dr. Ann Cavoukian

The real debate that is happening right now in respect to our data and privacy is the fact that data is being collected everywhere all the time and in all of our devices so it is increasingly difficult for people to make informed choices about what privacy or what personal information they want to give up or for what purpose.

For Cambridge Scandal exposed an issue that is not technically legal but it is a social issue about the use of data for collateral purposes and is not the original purpose of collecting the data.

CBC Marketplace - are your Apps spying on you?  

Carole shared the three main legal buckets to using artificial intelligence that consumers should be aware of and consider:


Input - when you are using a ton of data what you need to be thinking about as a business are:

  • How your data is going to be used
  • How is it collected
  • For what purpose
  • What is the nature of that data
  • Where is the data being stored and is it secured?


Contract - if you are buying a system, you should be thinking about who is going to maintain it overtime whether you have the in-house skill to do so or somebody else to do so. If you need to maintain a third party relationship then you should think about how are you  going to manage that relationship over time and what does it look like overtime.

  • You should also look at the issues transparency and trainability
  • You should also think about interpretability depending on context
  • Every AI system needs to be interpretable


Deployment - focuses on issues of liability but we still don’t have enough information here other than being aware of the liability issues that goes into the contracting phase in particular.


About McCarthy Tetrault:


McCarthy Tétrault provides a broad range of legal services, advising on large and complex assignments for Canadian and international interests. Built on a unique model of collaboration, the firm provides unequalled legal talent, industry knowledge and practice experience, and delivers customized legal services to help clients achieve the results that are important to them.

The firm has substantial presence in Canada’s major commercial centres as well as in New York City and London, UK. We deliver integrated services in business law, litigation, tax, real estate, and labour and employment law.


Connect with Carole:

Website: McCarthy Tétrault



Facebook: McCarthy Tétrault


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