AI Tribes

“This is not rocket science. We’ve regulated tech before, we’ll regulate it again” – Chandler Morse of Workday on AI regulation

By Business & Finance
28 March 2024

As the application of AI continues to change industries worldwide, the growing impetus for regulation is evident. Chandler Morse, Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Workday spoke to Sarah Freeman about the desire for a comprehensive AI regulatory framework. 

I met Chandler Morse, Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Workday, at AI Tribes, the one-day tech conference, focused on Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and the Data Science landscape, at Trinity College Dublin in late February. Morse was  there to speak about Balancing the Equation: Ethical Strategies for Bias-Free AI in a fireside chat with Andreea Wade, VP of Product Strategy at iCIMS.

In the fireside, they covered the strategies and best practices necessary to create AI systems that are not only technologically advanced but also free from biases. They referenced the challenges in identifying and eliminating biases in AI algorithms, the importance of diverse data sets, and the role of ethical guidelines in AI development.


Morse spent thirteen years working on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. with a member of Congress both in the House and in the Senate. There, he touched on a number of policy issues including Tech policy, before joining Workday over five years ago as their first full-time government relations hire.  The cloud-based, human capital management, finance and analytics service provider, whose customers are some of the largest in the world, including the many of the Fortune 500, has worked with the D.C. thinktank, The Future of Privacy Forum, to explore best practise in the industry.

I had a chance to speak with Morse about the changes wrought by the new technology and the importance of regulation of AI.

“We’re in a position where industry is ahead of regulation a little bit…The EU is a little bit further down the line. Policy makers want to do something but they’re not sure what that something is…We’re saying it’s not rocket science. We’ve regulated tech before, we’ll regulate tech again. It’s just the next iteration of responsible regulatory layer we need to put in place.”

I asked Morse what gaps needed to be filled in the current regulation. He emphasised the need for action.

“Somebody needs to pass something into law in the United States and you know, I say that sort of tongue in cheek, but it’s the truth. We have Europe moving forward. When you look at the US, there are basically no AI governance requirements. There’s the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) AI Management Framework which we love and we’re an early champion of and we’re the first case study for, but that’s voluntary. There’s the Future of Privacy work we did on best practices. At the end of the day, we really do see value in regulatory requirements that people can have a sense of knowing they’re being implemented or enforceability and recourse if they’re not. That really is where we start to see the trust.”

I asked Morse about the reservations some have about AI and its power. 

“It’s not unusual in an evolving policy landscape to see different issues emerge. When it comes to the existential threats, in my opinion, those tend to be distractions from actually getting meaningful regulatory proposals on the paper that we can agree on. Our message to lawmakers, particularly as Europe is moving, is this is not an insurmountable hill. This is a policy challenge that we can meet the need of and we can meet the need of right now.”

Morse added, “There’s a race to market in many of our fields and there’s a real desire to implement some of these tools. The quicker we get some of these regulatory requirements on the page in terms of actually passing laws and putting requirements in place the better. So what we’re trying to really urge is, let’s get done what we can get done. Not unlike the European approach, which was very targeted to high risk use cases, general purpose AI and some rules of the road. Is it the last bill that will ever be passed in the EU? Certainly not but it’s a really good start.”

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