Women in Islamic and Ethical Finance Forum (WIEFF): “How ethical is AI?” – 7th October 2019

The Women in Islamic and Ethical Finance Forum (WIEFF), in partnership with hosts City law firm CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarros Olswang LLP and sponsors DDCAP Group and Samak Ethical Finance,  presented “How ethical is AI?” on the evening at Monday 7 October.  The event brought together a panel of AI and Islamic finance industry practitioners to discuss and debate ethical issues surrounding the development and use of artificial intelligence (AI) and ended with a lively discussion between attendees and panellists on how it is necessary to move forward to ensure the industry manages the ethical concerns surrounding AI.  

DDCAP Managing Director Stella Cox CBE gave the key note opening address of the evening. Having commented in general on the essential work of WIEFF, as well as her experiences as a woman with a thirty year career in the financial services sector, she moved on to consider the challenges specific to women as they progress through management and on to positions of leadership in Islamic finance. Stella also reflected on DDCAP’s experience as the Group evolved its traditional business model to support the technology requirements of Sharia’a compliant banks and financial institutions. She ended with a short introduction to the panel, remarking on the inception and subsequent development of AI. Panellists included:

  • Ivana Bartoletti (Head of Privacy and Digital Ethics, Gemserv & Co-Founder, Women Leading in AI Network);  
  • Peter Bentley (Chief Commercial Officer, Aon);
  • Catalina Butnaru (City.Al London Ambassador, Women in AI – London. co-producer, IEEE Committee Member for Wellbeing and AI Ethics);
  • Visesh Gosrani (Chair, Cyber Risk working party, Institute and Faculty of Actuaries);
  • Martina Macpherson (President, Network for Sustainable Financial Markets);
  • Shahzad Chohan (Global Head of Machine Intelligence & Accelerated Computing, Credit Suisse)  and
  • Nazim Shabir (Executive Director, Head of AM Risk Assessment and Framework, UBS). 

One of the key points stressed was the need for diversity within the technology industry.  As AI starts with no ethics, only logic, it is the role of the creator to provide the constraints and training data to provide the ethical parameters.  Accordingly, a diverse workforce is imperative to create a diverse and robust set of ethics in our AI platforms. Without diversity, the decisions made by AI will have potentially inherent limitations and bias.  So, to ensure we make the most of what this technology can offer us, we need to ensure we have a diverse workforce, create tools with deal with job losses and that we ethics and privacy at the front of what we do. 

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