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AI education, caution essential in today’s risk landscape: Experts


SAN DIEGO – Organizations need to ensure the workforce has the necessary skills and training to manage the emerging risks and opportunities of artificial intelligence, a panel of risk leaders said Tuesday.

Carolina Klint, Stockholm-based chief commercial officer, Europe at Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc., said AI has hit the world hard.

“AI has put us in our place. It’s not even necessary to be smart to be a successful cybercriminal, because with artificial intelligence you can run programming in a way it hasn’t been run before,” Ms. Klint said during a panel session on excellence in risk management at Riskworld, the Risk & Insurance Management Society Inc.’s annual conference.

Ms. Klint, who was named among the Business Insurance Women to Watch in 2013, cited a recent incident in which a finance executive was duped into wiring $25 million to cybercriminals who used deepfake technology to pose as the organization’s chief financial officer.

“This is our new reality,” and it’s important for organizations to recognize this as they step up efforts to educate their employees, she said.

Risk professionals have to think differently for the future, said David Arick, Memphis, Tennessee-based managing director, global risk management at Sedgwick Claims Management Services Inc. and RIMS 2024 president.

“Data and models and AI can really help us think about the complexities of things we haven’t seen before and make us think differently about how we should be prepared,” Mr. Arick said.

Risk managers need to be connected to their leadership and ideally have a seat at the table when strategy decisions are being made so they can provide some influence about why an organization should or shouldn’t deploy AI, he said.

AI-related risks are not getting enough airtime, said Kevin Bates, group head of risk and insurance for Australian construction company Lendlease Corp. in Sydney, and a Risk & Insurance Management Society Inc. board director.

Whether it’s the weaponization of space and its potential impact on geopolitical tensions, biotech errors that continue to lead to pandemics, or quantum computing, the speed and pace of the Internet and the innovation behind it is accelerating, Mr. Bates said.

“You can’t help but wonder if there’s some sort of systemic financial market failure or loss just by the ability to circumvent controls,” he said.

Ensuring the workforce is appropriately skilled is one of the major risks as AI continues to evolve, said Reid Sawyer, Chicago-based managing director and head of the emerging risks group at Marsh LLC.

Having the right people in the organization to ensure that the models are performing as they should is essential, Mr. Sawyer said.

“We as risk professionals have to bring our HR partners to the table, to have that conversation,” Mr. Sawyer said, adding: “We’ve got to work through together to be able to make better-informed decisions to get to the right policy with the right skills.”