Responsible AI principles for Financial Services Industry

AI adoption holds immense promise for societies across Asia. Business see that the technology holds great potential for accelerating innovation and competitiveness, among other benefits.

At the same time, there is growing interest in ensuring that AI technologies are used responsibly. This is driving interest across many markets in the region in developing principles for the responsible use of AI. Singapore is unique in the region in having issued guidelines on this, cutting across all industry sectors, as well as having issued specific guidelines for the financial services industry. Microsoft issued its own framework for responsible AI in 2018.

Such principles are an important step forward – but of course their impact can only be achieved when they are implemented in practice.

Responding to this, Microsoft is launching a new project on operationalizing responsible AI principles in Asia, focusing on the financial services industry. Microsoft is partnering with Deutsche Bank, a leading global bank that is active across Asia, and Linklaters, a leading law firm in financial services and technology. The partners are also in discussion with other organizations on joining the initiative.

The partners are studying how responsible AI principles apply across different financial services scenarios. Think of two scenarios: the use of AI systems to inform lending decisions for retail banking customers; and the use of AI systems for investment banking research. Each is likely to raise different questions about how to apply principles like fairness and accountability in the use of AI.

Simulating the application of AI principles for different scenarios like these will generate important insights for the use of risk management tools, as well as other governance and operational mechanisms, to ensure that AI is used responsibly. These insights will also be valuable beyond the financial services industry.

The partners are engaging closely through this initiative with Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) – the authors of Singapore’s Model AI Governance Framework, and Principles to Promote Fairness, Ethics, Accountability and Transparency (FEAT) in the Use of Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics in Singapore’s Financial Sector, respectively. Both the PDPC and MAS are supportive of such initiatives that seek to share lessons on operationalizing principles for the responsible development and adoption of AI.

The partners will be conducting workshops over the coming months and publishing the findings of their work at the Singapore FinTech Festival in November 2019.

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