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AI Visionary Sadie Khodorkovsky on How Artificial Intelligence Should Inspire Action

Dan Donegan

Sadie Khodorkovsky is the global head of legal discovery at JPMorgan Chase, and she makes no bones about it: organizations and teams who aren’t ready and willing to dive deep into the potentials of using technology and innovation, including AI, will fall behind. Indeed, the best applications of artificial intelligence and innovation inform more thoughtful, strategic decisions—and better decisions lead to better action.

Dan Donegan: What were your interests early on and what drew you to your line of work?

Sadie Khodorkovsky: I wanted to be a lawyer when I first got to college, and thought that was the path I would follow. Early on, I realized that I should consider computer science, since I was an early tech adopter—taking computers apart, learning to code, understanding the internet and all of the nitty gritty techie type of things.

So I ended up getting a degree in computer science, and working in the legal technology space; it’s been an amazing way to marry both of those interests.

Any advice for those who are interested in following your career path?

Be your own cheerleader or champion of your interests. To progress and create opportunities, you must be open to things that are new or outside your comfort zone.

Similarly, it may be that you have to proactively say: “I am open.” While there may not be something that is right in your or others’ lines of sight at that moment, speaking up and asking to be tapped for opportunities will enable others to have you in mind when something does pop up that you may be suited for.

How would you describe the promise of AI at a family dinner?

AI is the beauty of getting insights from data well beyond what, or faster than, a human can achieve—and then using them to inform some other step. Whether it’s a legal decision or your shopping list or your music, the most valuable insights lead to more informed decision-making abilities.

Why does AI matter for what you do?

Legal and compliance and investigations all intersect at some point. Utilizing AI to not only help put a story together in the legal discovery space, but as it is happening, or even for preventing future occurrences—that’s what excites me.

Because how do you prove a negative? Data.

How do you find facts? Data.

How do you draw out a map of events and why you should care about them? You guessed it: data.

What’s your advice for organizations hesitant to adopt AI? 

The power of technology, innovation, and AI is essential for moving your company forward, strengthening your brand, and enhancing your future.

How can AI enthusiasts pursue professional development in this area? How do you encourage peers to understand the importance of continuing education in this area?

There is no shortage of education out there. The key is finding the sort of well-rounded information that helps you understand the things that are directly applicable to your role and interests, and then the areas that go far beyond your day to day but provide useful insights to help propel your growth.

Aim to be knowledgeable about market trends, and be knowledgeable about how AI and tech are being used in other industries. Be thoughtful about how you spend your time learning so you don’t go down a singular rabbit hole.

AI will allow people to spend their time on the things that people should be working on and thinking about—the things where people can't be replaced and the applicable experience and knowledge aren’t things you can build into code.

In your opinion, what does the integration of AI mean for the future of the human workforce generally and in your specific industry? 

It’s upskilling the workforce of the future. This will allow people to spend their time on the things that people should be working on and thinking about—the things where people can't be replaced and the applicable experience and knowledge aren’t things you can build into code.

What is one small thing someone could do today to move toward an AI-enabled future?

The first step can be as simple as attending a webinar or listening to a podcast on AI. Be open to it.

What’s a unique barrier to AI adoption that your industry faces?

We work in legal, so we are naturally risk averse. We need to make sure we are balancing advancement and risk and compliance at the same time.

In an ideal world, what would you want to see developed in the field of AI to improve how you conduct business?

If only I had the answer to this!

Dan Donegan is an account executive at Relativity.