Responsible AI / Panelist

Katia Walsh

Harvard Business School

United States

Katia Walsh is Harvard Business School’s inaugural chief digital officer, focused on delivering educational enhancement and commercial value through generative AI-powered products. Previously, she cofounded the Chief Customer Office at Prudential Financial, was Vodafone Group’s first chief data and AI officer, and was Levi Strauss & Co.’s first chief strategy and AI officer. Walsh is on the board of Securian Financial and the not-for-profit Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation. She has been recognized as a 2023 SwissCognitive Global AI Ambassador, one of the Top 50 Women Leaders of San Francisco for 2022, and VentureBeat’s 2021 global AI Mentor. She holds a doctorate from the University of Missouri-Columbia in strategic communication.

Learn more about Walsh’s approach to AI via the Me, Myself, and AI podcast.

Voting History

Statement Response
Organizations are sufficiently expanding risk management capabilities to address AI-related risks. Disagree “The technology is advancing so rapidly that there is no way to do anything “sufficiently,” including expanding risk management capabilities to address AI-related risks. While we know many of the risks, I imagine a number of those to come are still unknown. The technology will keep us all on our toes for years to come because it’s developing in nanoseconds.”
Executives usually think of RAI as a technology issue. Agree “Yes, it is true that executives tend to view responsible AI as a technology issue. However, that is a misconception. Responsible AI should be part of the values of the full organization, just as critical as other key pillars, such as sustainability; diversity, equity, and inclusion; and contributions to making a positive difference in society and the world. In summary, responsible AI should be a core issue for an organization, not relegated to technology only.”
RAI constrains AI-related innovation. Strongly disagree “The practice of responsible AI is not at odds with innovation at all. The two can and must coexist. Innovation is not only about unleashing imagination and achieving what once wasn’t possible; it’s about doing so with ethics, values, and respect for rights. When innovation and responsibility combine, we see the greatest potential of technology and human (including emotional) intelligence, and the two — together — will achieve what cannot succeed alone.”
Organizations should tie their responsible AI efforts to their corporate social responsibility efforts. Strongly agree “Across industries, businesses are now also tech and data companies. Those companies poised to successfully compete in the future have embraced that reality and understand that long-term, sustainable growth requires digital technologies to create new business processes, cultures, customer experiences, and opportunities. One of the myths about digital transformation is that it’s all about harnessing technology. For digital transformations to be successful, they need to be grounded in and underpinned by an organization’s guiding values. And they need to be in service to business drivers that will enable and protect a company’s right to operate in the future, including corporate social responsibility priorities.”
Responsible AI should be a part of the top management agenda. Strongly agree “Every company is now a technology company, and building a responsible AI framework from the start is critical to running a responsible business. Data, digital, and AI are core to how companies connect with consumers, drive internal operations, and chart future strategies. Therefore, these technologies can immensely impact consumers, employees, partners, and the organization overall. Just like human intelligence, AI is susceptible to limitations, bias, and error. We must ensure opportunities for responsible and ethical applications, continuous measurement, and advancement.

As we see continued adoption of AI throughout organizations, it’s vital that leaders incorporate ethical and responsible practices, including controls, to prevent unintended or harmful outcomes. Leading a modern organization includes building the right strategy and a plan that achieves desired outcomes, eliminates bias, ensures transparency, and withstands the highest data privacy, security, and protection measures.

An effective AI program is ethical and responsible, and these factors cannot be an afterthought or one-time conversation. Ethical and responsible AI must be a part of every organization’s core.”