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AI explosion is fed on big data, masterclass hears
David Cullen, David Kirton, Rachel Hayes and Barry Scannell

18 May 2023 / technology Print

AI explosion fed on big data, masterclass hears

William Fry has hosted a masterclass on artificial intelligence (AI) law for in-house counsel at its Dublin office.

Speakers from the firm’s technology group included:

  • David Cullen (head),
  • Rachel Hayes (senior associate), and
  • Barry Scannell (consultant and AI law expert).

The masterclass (17 May) was hosted by technology partner David Kirton and focused on the central role in-house lawyers will play in their organisations' implementation of AI technologies.

Forthcoming AI regulations – including the EU AI Act and the EU Liability Directives – and their interplay with existing laws, such as the GDPR, were also discussed.

Attendees heard that the AI Act would have a significant impact on businesses, and would bring with it a whole new layer of regulatory obligations with which general counsel must contend.

General counsel will also have a significant role in safely implementing large language models, such as ChatGPT, which Barry Scannell addressed from data-protection and copyright perspectives.

Rachel Hayes pointed out that, while AI was a novel technology, it essentially processed data, and the underlying rules remained unchanged.

Robust data governance

Therefore, it was crucial to establish robust data governance, ensuring safe implementation of this technology, and compliance with forthcoming legislation when enacted.

David Cullen tackled liability issues that might arise from the use of AI, and the importance of reviewing contracts with an eye to IP and liability considerations.

"As AI technology evolves, so too must our understanding and application of the law,” said David Kirton.

Barry Scannell added that the ‘explosion in AI tech’ had been triggered by an ‘explosion in big data’.

“AI is trained on data, and its growth is due to the massive amounts of data now available for it to feed on.

“By 2025, we will be producing as much data every three minutes as all of human civilisation did up to the year 2003,” he added.


In-house lawyers were at the organisational interface of AI implementation, and the burden of safely implementing and integrating AI systems would fall on their shoulders, Scannell stated.

General Counsel would also be the champions of AI progress within their companies, he added. 

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