Technology consultancy practice launch

Video | March 2019 | 3:58

Video Details

Technology consultancy practice launch

Peter McBurney

My name is Peter McBurney, I'm a Professor of Computer Science in the Department of Informatics at Kings College London, where I was Head of Department for four years.  For the last 15 years or so, I've been doing research in artificial intelligence and about five years or so ago I became interested in block chain and distributed ledgers.

Currently there are several technologies which are disrupting businesses, disrupting the ways we work and effectively changing everything.  For example, the adoption of artificial intelligence technologies by major companies creates many ethical, regulatory and legal implications.  Adoption of distributed ledgers, whether just internally within a company or across multiple companies, creates the need to design new workflows; new business processes, to figure out how to use the technology, how to deploy it most effectively.

AI, artificial intelligence likewise is being proposed to automate or to semi-automate human decision-making in many situations.  How do you fit the human into the picture?  How do you ensure the system is making the decisions that you'd like it to make?  Again, you'd need to take a view of the processes, the business processes involved.

Once upon a time, perhaps 20 years ago, you could have designed these processes just using computer scientists and maybe some management consultants but increasingly business is regulated, especially since the crash of 2008.  The rise of regulations such as the GDPR regulations for example mean that design of business processes needs also to have legal input, regulatory input and, for technologies like AI, ethical input.  How do you create a governance process for these technologies?  How do you design these processes?  These are the sorts of areas of advice that we can provide without our combination of technology, legal and regulatory, and management consulting and industry expertise.

What are the services we're offering in the technology consulting practice?

One type of service is technical assessments of technology systems; for example for secure custody of cryptocurrency assets.  Another service we're offering is cryptocurrency strategies and tokenisation strategies.  Lots of companies are looking at how they can tokenise their financial assets or other assets.  A third category of services we're offering is in technology strategies; what technologies to use for particular problems, what vendors to choose, assessment of vendors; we've done a project helping assess vendors.  And fourthly, audits of systems, particularly regarding AI systems.  AI technologies raise ethical concerns – or can raise ethical concerns – and create liabilities on the companies that deploy the systems.  We can offer a service that jointly combines our joint technical expertise with our legal and regulatory expertise to advise companies on the governance processes they need internally for these AI systems.

Norton Rose Fulbright is a global firm with offices in over 50 countries and so we are able to offer our technology consulting service around the global.  We've already had enquires from many countries, including the Middle East, Singapore and Australia.