AI Fairness In UK Financial Services

With the ongoing development and growing application of artificial intelligence, analytics and automation there is increasing public and regulatory interest in ensuring...
UK Finance and Banking
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With the ongoing development and growing application of artificial intelligence, analytics and automation there is increasing public and regulatory interest in ensuring that any potential risks stemming from these technologies are mitigated. A key area of concern is around 'bias' and AI fairness. This whitepaper – prepared in collaboration with UK Finance – explores ideas of AI fairness and what these mean for financial services firms, with a focus on the key overlapping regulatory considerations.

We see today growing scrutiny of the use of artificial intelligence ("AI") and algorithms, and a greater awareness of the potential for these technologies to exacerbate some consumer risks.

Questions touching on AI ethics and fairness are becoming more mainstream. In recent years we have seen greater public consciousness of what was once a relatively obscure academic issue. This includes the close attention paid to the use of an algorithm to determine 2020 A-levels by the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (or "Ofqual").

There is no doubt that law makers and regulators around the world are taking note and working to update their own approaches. In the UK, policy makers at the Office for AI are working on an AI policy whitepaper, while the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has consulted on changes to data protection law to account for AI challenges. On the regulatory front, the Digital Regulatory Cooperation Forum is considering the approach of UK regulators to algorithm-related issues and the Equality and Human Rights Commission has included AI guidance in its strategic plan for 2022-25. And in financial services specifically, the AI Public Private Forum has produced its long-awaited report, with a discussion document from the Bank of England and FCA signposted as a next step.

This is all taking place within the wider context of a greater public awareness of social justice issues. These can be complex at times, with an interaction between current practices and the legacy of historical injustices, which can still be felt today.

Nonetheless, AI holds the promise to enable a leap forward in the provisions of financial services, not only in efficiency improvements for firms but also in real benefits for customers. The roll out of AI into more financial sector applications has the potential to bring more personalisation of products and services for consumers, to enable greater financial inclusion and to permit more effective protection against fraud and other economic crime.

It is therefore no surprise that questions of AI fairness and bias are front of mind. It will take time for UK Plc to work through all of the complexities so that consumers and society can enjoy the benefits of AI technology, with confidence that it is being used fairly and ethically. We hope that this whitepaper will be a helpful contribution to the debate.

Download your copy here.

You can also access our webinar on this topic here.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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