Ethical AI and the power of connection: A conversation with Megan Roudebush

April 9, 2024

    Image with title of podcast episode on a dark background and guest name in a white bubble beneath

    In this episode of our podcast, we welcomed Megan Roudebush, a luminary in the world of compliance and now a technology entrepreneur steering her company, Keepwith, into innovative frontiers.

    With a rich background spanning 17 years in the financial services industry, Megan has navigated the realms of compliance, audit, and risk with unwavering dedication and a keen eye for ethical leadership. 

    The discourse around AI is often mired in controversy and scepticism, largely focusing on safety and ethical use. Megan emphasised the importance of governance and responsible implementation in ensuring the safety and security of AI systems.

    One of the most compelling aspects of this discussion centred on using AI for good. Megan, transitioning from a chief compliance officer to the CEO and founder of a tech company, has harnessed AI to foster stronger, more meaningful connections among people. At a time when human isolation is a pressing concern, Megan's mission with Keepwith stands as a testament to the positive potential of technology.

    Listen to the full episode below:


    Navigating the ethical landscape of AI

    The more informed we are about how something works, the more ethical we can be about using it. And so I think the key is educating ourselves about what AI specifically is and how it can be used.

    The conversation naturally progressed to the ethical considerations surrounding AI. Megan stressed the importance of being informed and educated about AI to use it ethically. She highlighted the myriad of new questions and challenges that arise with the advent of AI technologies, such as the appropriateness of using AI in personal tasks like drafting resumes or dating profiles.

    Safety, security, and AI: Building a responsible future

    It's not the responsibility of a team for one person, for a CISO or a data scientist or a data engineer or the head of technology or the head of cyber to sort of have that responsibility over AI and its safety. It really is a cultural responsibility at the organisation.

    Discussing the measures organizations can take to enhance the safety and security of AI systems, Megan pointed to a cultural shift towards collective responsibility. She underscored the importance of equipping teams with the necessary skills and knowledge to navigate the risks associated with AI, advocating for a holistic approach that involves everyone in the organization.

    AI as a tool for positive change

    AI should be seen as a tool, not the final answer. It's all about how we use it. If we rely on AI as the sole solution, we're likely to encounter issues. But when we use it thoughtfully, as part of a broader strategy, we unlock its true potential to make positive changes.

    Megan articulated her belief in AI as a tool that, when used responsibly, can significantly improve lives.

    She shared her excitement about the potential of AI to bridge gaps in human connection, particularly through her work at Keepwith. Megan's optimism about the future of AI contrasted with common narratives of doom and gloom, offering a refreshing perspective on the opportunities that lie ahead.

    The role of government in shaping AI's future

    When we think about how to regulate AI or  technology, we're  thinking about the role government plays, which I think should be collaborating with business rather than killing business. Organisations should help people to leverage technology to make their lives better.

    A key part of the discussion covered the government's role in regulating AI. Megan highlighted the importance of a collaborative approach between government and businesses to foster innovation while ensuring safety and security.

    She shared insights from her experience at the New York Stock Exchange Tech Summit, where she learned about the proactive role government agencies like CISA play in partnering with companies to navigate the complexities of cybersecurity and AI.

    Looking ahead: The promise of AI in combatting isolation and enhancing lives

    We're leveraging AI to help people connect better. So I would say that is what I am most excited about. Human isolation and loneliness are at their peak and if technology can help us connect with each other in a more meaningful way and solve the human isolation crisis, that's what really excites me.

    Megan reflected on the transformative potential of AI in addressing human isolation, improving healthcare, and solving critical global challenges. Her vision for Keepwith as a platform that leverages AI to build and strengthen relationships underscores technology's profound impact on fostering community and connection in an increasingly digital world.

    In sum, our dialogue with Megan Roudebush offered a deep dive into the ethical, safety, and innovative dimensions of AI.

    Her insights not only shed light on the current state of AI but also illuminated the path forward, highlighting the importance of responsible innovation, ethical leadership, and the collective effort required to harness the potential of technology for the greater good.

    Key takeaways

    • Embracing AI for good: AI has the potential to address critical issues like human isolation, emphasising the technology's role in fostering deeper, more meaningful connections among people. Megan's work with Keepwith exemplifies how AI can be harnessed to positively impact society, especially in combating loneliness and enhancing relational networks.

    • Ethical considerations are paramount: Ethical considerations are paramount in developing and deploying AI technologies. Megan stressed the need for informed usage and education about AI, advocating for thoughtful deliberation on its applications, including in personal and professional contexts.

    • Collective responsibility for AI safety: Ensuring the safety and security of AI systems is not the sole responsibility of a single role within an organisation but a cultural commitment. Megan advocates for a multidisciplinary approach, where everyone from engineers to executives contributes to AI's governance and ethical use.

    • Government and AI regulation: Collaboration over control is key in government regulation in AI. Megan shared insights on how governmental agencies could support innovation while ensuring technology's safe and responsible use, balancing safety with the need for technological advancement.

    Article and quotes have been edited for brevity and clarity.

    This post was written by: Matthew Hearfield, Marketing & Content Coordinator