Computer ethicist called on as banks look to increase use of artificial intelligence

The World Economic Forum called on the expertise of a computer ethicist from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) to help it examine how artificial intelligence can be used by the banking industry.

Dr Catherine Flick, Senior Lecturer in Computing and Social Responsibility at DMU’s Centre for Computing and Social Responsibility (CCSR), was invited to London to meet with senior thinkers from leading financial institutions, technology firms and academia.


The World Economic Forum says the rapidly-evolving capabilities of artificial intelligence (AI) could improve efficiency, accuracy and customer engagement within the financial industry.

It has launched a series of workshops around the world to discuss how best to achieve this. Ideas from the sessions will be fed into the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos and feature in a detailed report set for release in spring next year.

Dr Flick said increasing the use of automation and AI would raise ethical and social considerations such as consumer confidence in the banking sector and how people’s data would be assessed.

She said: “Artificial Intelligence is increasingly being used for decision making about loans, mortgages, and insurance. It’s extremely important for the financial services sector to remember that although AI can speed up these decisions, real people’s lives will be affected by the outcomes. Poor data and training of algorithms could have a significant negative effect, so a responsible approach needs to be taken.”

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The following sessions will be held in Zurich, New York, Hong Kong and Sydney with plans to hold the second phase of policy roundtables next year.

The World Economic Forum is the latest high-profile organization to approach Dr Flick for her input. She is part of a team writing a revised Code of Ethics for the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the international body for professionals who make, use, teach about and study computing.

Posted on Tuesday 5th December 2017

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