Day One of Compliance Week 2017 is in the books. The event is the largest ever with over 650 attendees. The conference opened this year with a Futurist, Dr. Brian David Johnson, who talked to the assembled group about where the compliance profession might be headed in 10 or 20 years out. It was a fascinating talk, and Dr. Johnson brought a high energy to the opening Keynote session. He also had some very significant things to say about the future of the compliance profession and the position of the chief compliance officer (CCO).

Of course, one of his key themes was Artificial Intelligence (AI). Dr. Johnson said there would be multiple grades of AI and most of them would fall into the range of what he called “Industrial Grade AI”. In this highest category would be sentient tools which will be aware, be able to process information in a manner which allows them to think and will be social. While there is talk about this type of AI in the realm of compliance, Dr. Johnson related he is not seeing much be actually done in this area.

Dr. Johnson did relate that the importance of compliance would grow, together with the increasing importance around ethics and corporate governance. He related that AI would increase the speed at which business decisions could be made will make a robust compliance program, operationalized into the fabric of an organization more critical. AI will first allow more and quicker business decisions. It will be the compliance program which is most closely integrated into the DNA of an organization so it can respond to ever-shifting market conditions. Not simply in sales but moving seamlessly between third party sales representatives and those from the Supply Chain. A robust compliance program does not slow down a business but properly functioning, allows it to move more quickly and more nimbly.

Dr. Johnson sees the necessity for compliance to be integrated into an organization. The Justice Department says compliance should be operationalized into a company. It seems that the legal side of things is pointing the direction in which you should be moving your compliance regime. Dr. Johnson would agree.