Thomson Reuters CDO Interview: Insights from Carter Cousineau, Vice-President of Data and Model Governance

It has been an eventful year for data and models, with the rise of generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) tools like ChatGPT in 2022 and the growing reliance on machine learning and analytics. Companies that fail to effectively manage their data face the risk of falling behind. To address this, some enterprises are appointing high-level executives to oversee their AI and algorithmic needs. One such leader is Carter Cousineau, the vice-president of data and model governance at Thomson Reuters, a news and information provider.

Cousineau joined Thomson Reuters in September 2021, bringing with her a wealth of experience in various sectors, including her role as the managing director of the Center for Advancing Responsible and Ethical Artificial Intelligence at the University of Guelph. Her research interests span a wide range of topics, from human-to-computer interaction to trustable AI. She has worked with startups, not-for-profit organizations, smaller businesses, and Fortune 500 companies. Her mission, both at Thomson Reuters and beyond, is to develop a safe and secure approach to data utilization.

Ensuring ethical and responsible practices in technology is a top priority for Cousineau. She recognizes the complexities that arise in handling data and models within any organization, and she believes that appropriate controls can be implemented to promote responsible use and ethics. This is an area she closely collaborates on with different teams at Thomson Reuters.

Cousineau was drawn to Thomson Reuters because of its combination of corporate opportunities and research challenges. Despite being a large global company, Thomson Reuters also has research-focused labs. This alignment appealed to Cousineau, as she wanted to contribute her research to practical applications.

She notes that most organizations have someone responsible for data model governance, particularly in heavily regulated sectors like finance. The level of seniority of this role depends on the specific business environment. Cousineau appreciates the ability to shape and influence an organization’s approach and culture, which differs from working at a university on research projects.

Cousineau’s role encompasses the entire enterprise, and her global team covers the full data lifecycle at Thomson Reuters. From data collection to model retirement, they support every business function within the company. Their focus is on ensuring well-governed and ethical use of information and insights. Cousineau highlights the talent and readiness of her team to improve business practices and emphasizes the value of their global footprint.

At Thomson Reuters, Cousineau has initially focused on building the foundational elements for effective data governance. This involves developing policies and standards and implementing controls and tools that support and validate their work. The company utilizes Snowflake technology to store and access enterprise information in its Data Platform, which is stored in the Snowflake Data Cloud. As technology evolves rapidly, policies and standards continue to be refined.

With the groundwork laid, Cousineau’s team now concentrates on promoting a culture of good governance across the organization. They work closely with each business function to ensure the right approach is implemented, driving cultural change and influencing individuals. Understanding the various workflows within Thomson Reuters has been essential in creating a data strategy that aligns with employees’ tasks. Rather than imposing additional tasks, the aim is to integrate governance and ethics seamlessly into everyday workflows.

Looking ahead, Cousineau’s key priorities for the next two years revolve around regulation and implementation, particularly in the realm of generative AI. She anticipates more global rules and ethical AI regulations being enacted. Cousineau highlights the upcoming European regulations as a significant development, noting the need for organizations to prepare for the long-term impact of generative AI.

In conclusion, Carter Cousineau’s role at Thomson Reuters as the vice-president of data and model governance is crucial in ensuring responsible and ethical AI practices. With a focus on developing a safe and secure approach to data utilization, she collaborates with teams across the organization to drive cultural change and instill good governance practices. By integrating governance and ethics into everyday workflows, Cousineau aims to facilitate the long-term impact of generative AI while staying ahead of regulatory developments.

Editor Notes:

Carter Cousineau’s work at Thomson Reuters highlights the importance of data and model governance in today’s rapidly evolving technological landscape. By prioritizing ethics and responsibility in AI practices, organizations can build trust and ensure the effective use of data. Cousineau’s approach to integrating governance and ethics seamlessly into workflows demonstrates her understanding of the challenges businesses face and her commitment to making a positive impact. As AI continues to advance, it is essential for organizations to have leaders like Cousineau who champion responsible and ethical AI. To stay updated on the latest news and developments in AI, visit GPT News Room.

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