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Interview with Michelle Pinheiro, Head of Enterprise Data Governance, ANZ

ANZ Bank Head of Enterprise Data Governance Michelle Pinheiro shares her tips for developing and implementing effective data ethics processes 

While there is a lot of buzz around the subject of data ethics and AI there is still a lot of foundational work to be done, argues Michelle Pinheiro, Head of Enterprise Data Governance at ANZ Bank in this interview from Data Champions, Online ANZ.

“There’s a lot of focus across a lot of industries around artificial intelligence, she explains. “But really, it’s much more fundamental than that. It really comes back to corporate governance.”

It is important to map out an ethical code of conduct for your business that is relevant to the business area and organizational values, Pinheiro explains. But, while many types of businesses share general ethical principles, the specifics are not always easily transferrable.

“I would not recommend going out and Googling or copying other ethical principles of other organizations around the world,” she advises. “Your data ethics principles, which is where you should start on data ethics, should be tied to the values of your organization.”

Pinheiro recommends starting by examining the business need and the rights of the individual to data privacy. A key component of this relationship is how the data itself was acquired and whether the use case in question results in ethical decisions or outcomes.

“It’s the heart of ethics. Did you use a person as the means to an end? Because your ends might be OK, but the means by which you got there may not be,” she says.

This ethical acid test should be at the core of what data ethicists teach staff about ethical data usage, rather than getting bogged down in the philosophy of ethics.

“My view of that is that there is a balance that needs to be struck there,” she concludes. “I absolutely see the need for the safety of data and the protection of data. But we have to balance that against the rights of the individual.”

Key Takeaways

  • Develop a unique code of conduct. The data ethics of your organization should be tied to the core values of your business
  • Examine your relationship with the data subject. Businesses should first consider the way data was gathered and only then decide about its ethical use
  • Trust decisions made by people. No matter how advanced your AI capabilities are you should always have a human backstop to prevent a cascade of bad decisions