Innovator in Focus: Dina Blikshteyn’s Approach to Overcoming Adversities in Tech Innovation

Dina Blikshteyn | Partner and AI Practice Co-chair | Haynes and Boone, LLP
Dina Blikshteyn | Partner and AI Practice Co-chair | Haynes and Boone, LLP

Step into a tech landscape where innovation reigns supreme, and at the helm stands Dina Blikshteyn, positioned as Partner and AI Practice Co-chair at Haynes and Boone, LLP. Within this dynamic arena, she integrates the intricacies of patent applications, cutting-edge post-grant proceedings and nuanced opinions on infringement and invalidity. Her expertise seamlessly merges these components, shaping the legal framework of innovation. She focuses her practice on AI and patent counseling, and post-grant proceedings in front of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Dina’s prowess extends to a myriad of technological realms—Internet systems, computer graphics, cyber-security, and more. She navigates the complex terrains of wireless communication, smart-grid technologies and financial services with finesse. Leveraging her significant industry experience, she is a seasoned professional adept at patent prosecution and Patent Office Trials.

Let’s delve into Dina’s journey–where every patent application is a brushstroke in the masterpiece of innovation!

Innovating with Purpose

Dina traces her journey from childhood curiosity to Wall Street innovation. “When I was a child, I liked to build things like spaceship models and robots,” she reminisces. In college, her passion for robotics, virtual reality and computer graphics flourished, laying the foundation for her future endeavors.

The transition to Wall Street saw Dina immersed in crafting automated trading systems, colloquially known as ‘black boxes,’ designed to navigate diverse market conditions. Reflecting on those days, she notes, “I spent my years on Wall Street building automated trading systems.”

As a partner in a top one hundred law firm, Dina seized the opportunity to delve into the burgeoning field of AI. “I jumped at the opportunity to work in the AI space since it embodies many things I loved growing up,” she explains. This was a time when AI had yet to become the ubiquitous buzzword it is today, predating the fame–or infamy–of ChatGPT.

Observing the tech landscape evolve, Dina foresaw the inevitable integration of AI into everyday life. “I knew that it would only be a matter of time before we’ll be using AI in our everyday life.” Today, as a legal expert specializing in AI, she navigates the intricate landscape, counseling both established companies and startups. Her role involves safeguarding emerging AI technologies, scrutinizing resources for ethical AI development and mitigating risks within the evolving legal framework. In a world catching up to AI, Dina stands at the forefront, bridging the gap between innovation and regulation.

Strategic Moves

Dina’s childhood dream of becoming a chess grandmaster took an unexpected turn when IBM’s AI, Deep Blue, outplayed global champion Garry Kasparov in just 19 moves. “I spent hours poring over openings and studying the strategies of past grandmasters,” she recalls. This pivotal moment steered her toward a fascination with AI integration. “When there was an opportunity to work with AI in a legal context, I jumped at the chance.”

Dina recognizes the profound impact of AI on daily life. “AI has such an immense impact on every aspect of our everyday life.” Enthusiastic about contributing to global change, she sees AI’s potential to revolutionize sectors like finance, healthcare, automotive, and education. In her journey, Dina’s childhood passion for strategy seamlessly evolved into a commitment to shaping the future through the transformative power of AI.

Forging Ethical AI

At Haynes and Boone, a leading law firm, Dina emphasizes the importance of a diverse, inclusive and collaborative environment for developing ethical AI tools. “It is imperative to maintain these values to develop fair, ethical and unbiased AI tools,” she asserts. Collaborating across generations and backgrounds ensures legal advice reflects a blend of perspectives. Recognizing AI’s reliance on provided information, Dina highlights the strategy to broaden knowledge. “A critical component of our strategy is to increase the breadth of that knowledge and step into the future together.”

Balancing Innovation and Responsibility

In the realm of AI, challenges abound, and Dina, at Haynes and Boone, is at the forefront of navigating these complexities. “Because AI operates as a black box,” she notes, “people only see what goes into AI and the final product it generates, yet lack understanding of how it arrives at its answers.” Biases in data, magnified by AI’s vast training sets, present another hurdle. Dina emphasizes that when AI yields results, the bias can be magnified.

The existing landscape includes AI applications that raise ethical concerns, such as facial recognition and predictive policing. Dina acknowledges that AI that can be perceived as harmful and unethical already exists today. Legal uncertainties compound the challenges. While federal law surrounding AI is unsettled, Dina points out that multiple states are enacting their own, divergent legislation. Despite the AI Executive Order, a concrete legal framework is still in progress.

In this dynamic environment, Haynes and Boone’s role is pivotal. Dina emphasizes, “Our job is to counsel clients on challenges and risks when AI is used irresponsibly and unethically.” The firm’s forward-looking approach considers the specific AI tool and industry sector. “We strive to strike a balance that maximizes our clients’ innovation and revenue while minimizing legal risks within the ever-changing legal framework.” Dina and her team navigate the uncharted territories of AI, ensuring responsible and ethical use amid evolving legal landscapes.

Beyond the Buzz

Dina highlights the firm’s commitment to AI even before its widespread acclaim. “Haynes and Boone has been heavily investing in the AI practice even prior to AI’s rapid fame.” The AI team is a diverse blend of legal minds with expertise in engineering, mathematics and life sciences. Dina emphasizes, “Our AI team is composed of attorneys representing a wide range of disciplines.”

Internally, the focus is on continuous growth. “While Haynes and Boone is invested in growing our knowledge of AI internally,” Dina states, the firm also aims to lead in AI innovation externally. Through various mediums, including writing, speaking and podcasting, they provide thought leadership on AI issues, challenges, policies and legislation. Dina underlines their dedication to staying competitive, noting, “We also constantly look and evaluate various AI based legal tools that can make our firm competitive and provide top service to our clients.”

Championing Change

Dina is a trailblazer in a historically male-dominated industry and asserts, “It is integral for me to work harder, to speak louder and to think bigger in order for my ideas to be actualized.” Recognizing the need for collective efforts, she believes that individual efforts, no matter how valiant, are not enough to facilitate long-term change.

Dina underscores the importance of teamwork and creating opportunities for underrepresented groups, stating, “It is essential to work as a team and create opportunities for other underrepresented groups in order to cyclically enhance equity in the technology sector and incorporate new critical perspectives into up-and-coming innovation.” In navigating challenges and championing inclusivity, Dina emphasizes the power of collaborative initiatives to foster lasting change in the technology landscape.

The Collaborative Edge

Dina highlights the company’s culture, emphasizing, “Haynes and Boone has a culture that promotes a diverse, inclusive and cooperative environment.” This ethos encourages collaborative work among attorneys from different groups, a core value for the firm. Dina underscores the interdisciplinary nature of AI because it touches so many industries—technology, healthcare, finance, automotive, and more requiring diverse legal expertise to collaborate seamlessly on projects and provide top-tier service to clients.

Acknowledging AI as an evolving technology, Dina affirms, “While our legal expertise does evolve together with the AI technology and the legal landscape,” she emphasizes that the firm draws on years of collaborative culture. “Haynes and Boone is able to rely on our years of collaborative culture to tackle challenges with AI and other technologies that lie ahead.” The firm’s foundation of collaboration positions it to navigate the evolving landscape of AI and emerging technologies effectively.

Legal and Technical Prowess

With OpenAI’s ChatGPT, AI has shifted from obscurity to our daily discourse. Dina, adept in legal and technical AI matters, navigates the evolving landscape. She acknowledges that the rise of generative AI, or GenAI, unveiled massive benefits. Yet, it brought forth concerns—biases, fairness issues, hallucinations, privacy breaches, and copyright infringements.

In her role, she advises CEOs and legal departments on safeguarding intellectual property and ensuring the ethical use of AI. “I counsel CEOs, GCs and legal departments in companies on ways to protect their intellectual property and perpetuate safe and equitable use of AI in an everchanging legal and political landscape.”

Future Forward

Dina foresees a future where AI transitions from novelty to norm across industries. “AI’s ability to assess patterns will transform the way we process, use and understand information,” she asserts. Drawing parallels to the transformative impact of email and smartphones, Dina envisions AI reshaping business practices. “Like e-mail and smartphones, I believe that AI will transform the way we do business.”

At present, GenAI streamlines daily tasks like writing, drawing and trip planning. Today, GenAI already makes everyday tasks such as writing, drawing, advertising, preparing an itinerary for a trip, or creating a recipe from a photograph of food in a refrigerator simple and seamless.

Looking ahead, Dina predicts AI’s pervasive influence in the healthcare, finance, education, and automotive sectors. “I envision AI enhancing many industries where AI will accelerate drug development, teach students, form investment strategies, and pilot self-driving and flying vehicles.” As AI becomes integral, Dina anticipates a transformative impact on various facets of our lives.

Transformative Trends

Dina envisions leading a robust AI practice that blends innovation, client counseling and litigation. To achieve this, it is imperative to continue to grow a strong, diverse and capable team that knows how AI works, understands its challenges and has a diverse legal background to solve them. Anticipating AI’s evolution, Dina sees a future where technology becomes ‘more transparent, equitable and reliable.’

In her vision, AI seamlessly integrates into legal practice, handling routine tasks and predictive analytics. “At this point,” Dina envisions, “I envision incorporating AI in our legal practice to perform menial tasks and predictive analytics while leaving attorneys to focus on the best way to solve legal problems.”

Unlocking the Potential

Dina advocates thinking expansively, urging, “Think out of the box and then think even bigger.” In the dynamic world of AI, she emphasizes the importance of critical and creative thinking, stating, “Learn to think critically and creatively, with an eye for the future.” Dina cautions against fixating on minutiae, stressing, “It’s easy to fixate on minuscule tasks, forsaking the bigger picture, yet the bigger picture is what drives innovation.”

AI, in Dina’s view, is an unlimited tool that extends beyond surface-level applications. “AI is a tool that is limitless and we have only breached the surface of what it can do.” By handling mundane tasks, AI frees up time for creativity. Dina encourages forging a unique path, advising, “While it is important to take inspiration from others in the industry, you must ultimately carve your own, unique path in order to make substantial strides in the technology sector.”

Acknowledging challenges, she identifies fear and resistance to change as formidable adversaries, urging, “Fear of the unknown, self-doubt and change are your most dangerous adversaries, and you must challenge this with bold, confident creativity while setting a stage for the future.” Dina’s wisdom advocates embracing innovation with confidence and resilience, emphasizing the limitless potential of creativity in the landscape of technology.