CIO Exclusive: Australia’s big banks mull ethics in AI

CIO Australia talks to data chiefs at CBA and NAB about how the two banking behemoths are progressing with the federal government’s AI Ethics trial which kicked-off last year.

Ethics is underscored heavily in a document [morality, ethical, ethics]
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With Australia’s banking sector still dressing the burns it sustained during last year’s Banking Royal Commission, the issue of ethics in the deployment of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies isn’t a ball any of them want to be seen to drop.

Amid the grilling, the Federal Department of Industry and Science released a set of eight ‘voluntary’ AI Ethics Principles and a framework in November to help Australian organisations develop fairer AI practises, and therefore better navigate the emerging legal and reputational risks of this fast-evolving technology.

Industry was also invited to take part in a trial, which will run until the middle of this year, with NAB, CBA, Telstra, Microsoft Australia and Flamingo AI signing up.

With its huge numbers of customers and eye-popping volumes of data, banks naturally have a great interest in AI. And to date, Australia’s big four have made big investments in the technology, hiring the best talent to design, build and run it.

Dan Jermyn, chief decision scientist with CBA, tells CIO Australia the bank’s Customer Engagement Engine, which helps manage customer experience across the bank's myriad channels, operates 300 machine learning models with some 157 billion data points, and growing.

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