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Dr Kobi Leins - Publications - Image by Jeremy Bishop
Dr Kobi Leins - Publications

February 2024 E-News Archive - Standards Australia

22 February 2024
Authors: Kobi Leins
Standards Australia

In Conversation with Dr Kobi Leins

Dr Kobi Leins (GAICD) is a global expert in AI, international law and governance. She’s a member of Standards Australia’s IT-043 Artificial Intelligence National Committee and is an Honorary Senior Fellow of King’s College, London.

When did you first become involved in standards development?

I started to become involved in standards development towards the end of my PhD and working in an Engineering and Computer Science department at a university. I was researching and writing on Artificial Intelligence governance, and it was clear that standards had (and still have) a profound impact on mechanisation and industry.

How do standards impact and interact with your industry?

Anyone using data should be aware of and comply with the best practice of standards. History doesn’t repeat, but it rhymes. The rise of mechanisation caused a lot of deaths, and engineers started to study safety as a separate topic, with research showing that production increased, rather than decreased, as safety and governance increased.

‍Why is access to standards important?

The largest single loss of life in New York before 11 September was from a steamboat fire and subsequent sinking - many people died as wooden boats at the time were unregulated and steam engines often caught alight. Following the disaster, important changes were made to improve safety.

Standards provide the cobblestones of governance that prepare the way for the proper road of regulation, with deep technical knowledge and expertise of subject matter experts.

‍What is the future of standardisation in your area of work?

In Artificial Intelligence, machine learning and automation, there needs to be an education piece about which laws already apply, how the systems work, and how companies and cultures engage with reviewing and reporting in documented, repeatable, and auditable ways.

The same research that demonstrated production increased with safety measures also applies to software as well as hardware – it is just a little more complex because of the ease with which software can be changed and how data needs to be managed. Companies need to review their policies and processes, and cultures and reporting systems, to ensure that there is effective governance of the tools they buy or use, regardless of technical complexity. Standards will change the game and raise the bar of best practice.