Pittsburgh - Investments in artificial intelligence (AI)-related startups have tripled in the past three years, with more than a 300 percent increase in investment in AI by business anticipated in 2017. In response, global law firm K&L Gates LLP has established a firmwide cross-disciplinary AI initiative to advise and support clients that are or may be developing or incorporating AI technology in their businesses and products. K&L Gates counsels a range of clients who are utilizing and/or exploring artificial intelligence technology to enhance their business, including clients who use or invest in areas such as drone technology, aerial filming, and data analytics in the education, energy, entertainment, and government sectors, among others.
Headed by Seattle partner David McDonald, a leader for K&L Gates’ firmwide intellectual property practice, and Pittsburgh partner David Lehman, the initiative will enable the firm to help clients capitalize on a broad range of technologies and applications, from process optimization, custom controls, and automation to robotics, machine learning, predictive analytics, computer vision, and Internet of Things (IoT), including such areas as smart-cars and autonomous vehicles, home/service robots, unmanned aircraft, and intelligent tutoring and online learning systems. The team will comprise lawyers from across K&L Gates’ global platform, including those in the intellectual property, policy and regulatory, financial services, corporate/M&A, emerging growth, and insurance coverage practices, among others.
“AI development and deployment raise legal issues that do not fit neatly into one traditional bucket,” stated McDonald. “K&L Gates offers a world of experience in a wide range of legal subjects that we can readily bring to bear as new technologies emerge and penetrate markets.”
The launch of the AI initiative follows the firm’s announcement earlier this month of a $10 million gift to Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) for the establishment of the “K&L Gates Endowment for Ethics and Computational Technologies” to study the ethical issues posed by artificial intelligence. The gift allows for the creation of several new faculty chairs, doctoral student Presidential Fellowships, and a biennial conference in the area of computational technologies as well as an undergraduate scholarship recognizing outstanding achievements and potential for further excellence and an annual K&L Gates Prize to be awarded to a graduating senior demonstrating high levels of scholarly achievement.