The Future of AI: Business North Carolina Roundtable Highlights Insights from Tech Attorney Darrell Fruth

Business North Carolina 

As the government, private sector and investors pour billions of dollars in North Carolina to advance Artificial Intelligence (AI), Smith Anderson technology attorney Darrell Fruth joined a panel of forward-thinking and tech-minded leaders to delve into AI’s promising yet perplexing future at a roundtable hosted by Business North Carolina magazine.

The state is quickly becoming a hub for AI development even as AI evolves quicker. BNC cites examples such as computing giant Lenovo and N.C. State University have partnered to pioneering geospatial AI to optimize agricultural applications. This initiative is backed by a $20 million grant from the National Science Foundation and is exploring AI’s impact on education as North Carolina positions itself at the forefront of AI innovation.

The roundtable collected diverse perspectives from Darrell and other thought leaders in North Carolina’s tech sector, including:

  • Richard Boyd, co-founder and chairman of UltiSim
  • Bojan Cukic, dean of the College of Computing and Informatics at UNC Charlotte
  • Peter Goldstein, chief product and AI strategist at Hearst
  • Alice McClure, SAS product marketing director
  • Todd Olson, CEO of Pendo

Darrell emphasized the multifaceted role AI plays in the business world, noting how Smith Anderson assists clients by utilizing AI for various applications, from oncology and imaging to job candidate screening. One challenge Darrell recognized is determining accountability when AI systems fail as AI’s potential is vast, but so are the challenges it presents, particularly regarding responsibility and accuracy. Large language models, for instance, can sometimes generate misleading information, Darrell added.

"My firm Smith Anderson is using AI for specific things, and I’m actually in charge of the task force there to figure out how we need to use it more and how to use it responsibly," Darrell said.

Darrell addressed the complexities of regulating AI technologies, citing the contrasting approaches between the European Union's risk-based regulations and the U.S.'s focus on self-governance and voluntary standards. In addition to that, the rapid pace of technological advancement complicates the regulatory landscape as laws struggle to keep up with innovation.

"I don’t know how we’re going to regulate all this stuff … By the time you get done with the hearings, the technology has already changed," said Darrell, adding that while it is significant challenge to develop regulations that protect interests without stifling innovation, it is exciting to be a part of the effort to navigate the challenge.

Darrell helps innovative companies develop and commercialize new technologies with a focus on life science, clean-tech and software. As leader of Smith Anderson’s Technology and Software Transactions Group, he regularly counsels clients offering AI solutions for drug discovery, oncology imaging, human resources, supply chain management, fraud detection and other novel applications. He also develops guidelines for responsible use of AI tools in a broad base of client organizations. Outside of work, he uses AI to create unique pet portraits that visualize the pet’s genetic code. Darrell has been recognized by The Best Lawyers in America® (2018-2024).

A PDF of the full discussion can be viewed here, and a video excerpt can be viewed here and below. 


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