Regulators ‘must tread carefully with AI’

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) needs careful nurturing if it is to deliver on its potential for financial services firms, according to Accenture and the International Regulatory Strategy Group (IRSG).

The analysis of AI in financial services featured a recommendation that regulators would have to allow businesses to innovate responsibly, while also retaining public trust.

Key challenges identified included:

• The lack of a clear definition of what constitutes AI and therefore, how it should be regulated.
• An expectation gap, both from customers and from industry practitioners, between what is expected of AI, and what AI can actually deliver in practice.
• An understanding of how to scale AI systems across a business when they are often initially developed on limited closed platforms.
• A shortage of tech talent needed to develop and implement AI technologies at scale across the industry.
• A public perception challenge stemming from a public debate heavily influenced by discussions about the negative impact of AI on employment and privacy.

Mark Hoban, chair of the IRSG, and a former Treasury minister, said, “Despite fears of automation-driven unemployment, the rise of AI is creating new roles and opportunities across the industry as well as demonstrable consumer benefits.

“The real challenge is how we can stay at the forefront of this new technological wave while maintaining the highest standards of regulation and public trust – this is a technical revolution which is very much still in its infancy.”

Fernando Lucini, managing director at Accenture Digital and artificial intelligence lead in the UK and Ireland, added: “Although the fundamentals of the UK’s regulatory architecture remain robust and fit for purpose for current applications of AI, further thinking on policy might be needed as the technology becomes more transformative and scaling it becomes a must.”

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