Reflecting on AI, Privacy Compliance and Ethics: A Personal Journey with “The Courage to Be Disliked”

Jan 3, 2024 | T's Notes

Reflecting on AI Privacy Compliance and Ethics

Reflecting on AI, Privacy Compliance and Ethics – As someone deeply entrenched in privacy compliance law for over two decades, I’ve grappled with the interplay of technology and ethics. But today’s pace is dizzying, and I find myself continuing to look inward to ground myself. In my previous Note, I offered reflections on navigating our rapidly changing world by finding insights from depth psychology and James Hollis. This week, I revisited the book “The Courage to Be Disliked” by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga. Its philosophical depth resonated profoundly with me and the challenges I find myself grappling with as I explore use of AI tools in our new, AI-driven world.

While a book on Adlerian psychology may seem an unconventional companion for a privacy compliance lawyer, its philosophical insights have offered me a fresh lens through which to view the challenges of AI and ethics. It has reinforced to me the idea that in our technology-driven world, our uniquely human values and perspectives remain not just relevant but essential and that we have an opportunity to refresh and re-examine our own humanity.

The book champions a forward-looking mindset, which, of course, is crucial in the rapidly changing AI landscape. Too often we are tethered not just by past norms, but but profound fears.

As a privacy compliance lawyer, I’ve always believed in the power of technology to serve the greater good. I know there are many who disagree, and we’ve had 1000s of hours of debate and discussion, but many years ago, I decided to place my stake in the ground toward the balance of greater good on the line representing the divergence of opinion between the digital dystopians vs the digital utopians. It’s not just about developing AI ethically; it’s about ensuring these advancements work for everyone and provide benefits that we can measure, not new burdens to endure.

One of the book’s most striking quotes, “No matter what moments you are living, or if there are people who dislike you, as long as you do not lose sight of the guiding star of ‘I contribute to others,’ you will not lose your way” speaks volumes about our role in an AI-dominated era. It’s a call to value our human traits – empathy, creativity, and moral judgment – which AI cannot replicate. In a landscape where machines excel, our human essence is our superpower. [I wish to note that I did use various AI tools as an experiment in editing and my starting thoughts were most definitely improved by the edits. I love the line that was mine in spirit but reimagined with impact so it is worth repeating: in a landscape where machines excel, our human essence is our superpower!]

This journey with the book has been a reaffirmation of my beliefs and experience with advances in technology, and its insights affirm and offer some guidance in my professional path. It has allowed me to reflect that the intersection of technology, privacy law, and ethics is not just a battleground of challenges but a space brimming with opportunities for meaningful contributions. May it be so.

Teresa (T) Troester-Falk, Founder, BlueSky Privacy

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Teresa Troester-Falk
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