24/09/2021 – Governments, financial regulators and firms should step up their efforts to work together to address the challenges of developing and deploying trustworthy artificial intelligence (AI) in the financial sector, according to a new OECD report.
The OECD Business and Finance Outlook 2021 says that investment in AI finance is on the rise. The financial and insurance sector has consistently been within the top 10 industries in terms of the amount of VC investments in AI start-ups, investing over USD 4 billion worldwide in 2020. Almost 65% of VC investments in the sector went to American AI start-ups.
As AI applications become increasingly integrated into business and finance, the use of trustworthy AI will become increasingly important for ensuring trustworthy financial markets, says the report.
AI has the potential to facilitate transactions, enhance market efficiency, reinforce financial stability, promote greater financial inclusion and improve customer experience. But AI also raises unique challenges to privacy, autonomy, transparency and accountability, which are particularly complex in the financial sector, according to the Outlook.
Critically, increasingly complex AI algorithms that are difficult, or even impossible, to explain could amplify existing risks in financial markets or give rise to new risks.
Transparency, fairness, data governance and accountability are key to managing risk as determinants of trustworthy AI. Failing to foster these qualities in AI systems could lead to the introduction of biases generating discriminatory and unfair results, market convergence and herding behaviour or the concentration of markets by dominant players, which can all undermine market integrity and stability.
Existing financial regulations may fall short of addressing systemic risks presented by wide-scale adoption of AI-based FinTech by financial firms, says the report.
These conditions have led to a critical juncture for the deployment of AI applications in business and finance, according to the Oulook. Financial regulators are grappling with whether and how to adapt existing rules, or create new ones, to keep pace with technological advances in AI applications, while striking the right balance between managing risks and supporting innovation.
At the international level, the OECD AI Principles, adopted in May 2019, became the first international standard agreed by governments for the responsible stewardship of trustworthy AI. The OECD, together with international partners working to support financial markets and financial sustainability, must reinforce efforts to facilitate multilateral engagement on implementing the Principles in the context of financial markets and other business sectors.
In recognition of the close links between AI and other transformative technologies, the launch of this year’s Outlook takes place as part of the OECD’s fourth annual Global Blockchain Policy Forum that runs until 1 October.