AI: Smart and socially responsible?

Artificial intelligence and its applications are set to transform various industries including the financial industry. The widespread use of AI and cognitive computing is beginning to take form and IBM Watson, which is integrated in cars, phones and healthcare organizations, is set to touch approximately 1 billion people in 2017. AI tools will evidently become more commonly integrated into fintech solutions, which have been seen with virtual banking assistants, automation of AML documentation, risk assessments and robo-advisors. However an unanswered question revolves around the ethical principles for AI.

While AI has obvious benefits, many experts have warned that AI systems can go awry. In order to cope with these challenges Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center and MIT’s Media Lab has initiated the establishment of the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Fund, which will support a cross-section of AI ethics and governance projects and activities, both in the United States and internationally. Director of MIT Media Lab, Joi Ito explains; “one of the most critical challenges is how do we make sure that the machines we ‘train’ don’t perpetuate and amplify the same human biases that plague society? How can we best initiate a broader, in-depth discussion about how society will co-evolve with this technology, and connect computer science and social sciences to develop intelligent machines that are not only ‘smart,’ but also socially responsible?”