Rise, created by Barclays, launches new Insights report, ‘Making data count with AI’

Rise Insights report lead, Grace Batchelor, Rise London FinTech Platform Manager shares highlights on one focus area in the report – ethics in AI.

The latest edition of the Rise Insights report, ‘Making data count with AI’, surveys the data revolution that’s taking place, the role of AI and the opportunities it presents to financial services, including fintechs. In this article, we summarise the drivers of the revolution, and focus on the practicalities of what might sound like a theoretical subject – ethics in AI.

As Ben George, Distinguished Engineer for Data in Barclays Chief Technology Office writes in the report’s foreword:

“Raw data is rocket fuel, highly powerful but also highly dangerous.”

For individuals, the loss of direct control can be alarming when every click or swipe sees their personal data scattered into a huge number of anonymous corporate data silos around the globe. They must rely on trust alone – trust in those corporations to store, process and share the data properly – when they have only a tenuous relationship with the companies.

Could there be a more transparent protocol of data sharing? At Rise, created by Barclays, we like to think so. Imagine people being able to choose their own data policies from an app, setting time limits on data availability and even fixing a price to sell their data. Several things will bring about this data revolution:

  • A combination of technologies, including AI, that underpin the data-sharing vision on a global scale
  • Savvy fintechs with innovative solutions in the data space
  • Large financial services and technology organisations committed to the new vision
  • Modern regulation designed for this new world

Importantly, all parties will also need an appreciation of the importance of ethics in AI, and they’ll need to actively adopt it. Read more about these subjects in the report.


Do no harm: The role of ethics

From customers’ perspective, trust will remain critical. But how do companies ‘do the right thing’ with data to establish trust (and adhere to regulations)? It’s a question that’s in sharp focus given the commercialisation potential of data and new AI technologies.

Katryna Dow is Founder and CEO of Meeco, and contributes an article to the report with practical advice on getting started in the data revolution. She’s confident that “a more citizen-centric approach based on a more equitable and ethical considerations to data is entirely possible given today’s technology.”

In a Q&A section of the report on the ethics of AI, David Bholat, Barclays UK Chief Data Scientist, tells me why we should be rational about AI: “Cancer diagnosis is a high-stakes situation. Although less critical, credit allocation can be scary too. It’s understandable that these make us fear taking the wrong decision. But I think we should distinguish between the scariness intrinsic to those situations, and the application of AI in them. Credit decisions and cancer diagnoses need to be made. We should be pragmatic, and use the best tools at our disposal to make them.” When several studies show that computer vision techniques outperform clinical experts in tumour detection and machine learning can outperform simpler statistical models in underwriting, an objective approach to AI is a sound starting point.

Also in the report, Michael Payne, Barclays UK Data & Analytics MD, shares the five tenets that banks will be held to:

  1. Transparency: A willingness to explain clearly what they’re doing with their customers’ data
  2. Control: Giving customers clear rights and easy ways to govern how their data is used
  3. Beneficiaries: Line of sight on who is benefiting from data usage and what consumers get from this
  4. Accountability: Checks are in place to ensure AI systems are performing reliably and safely
  5. C-level focus: Fostering company board discussions on ethics, especially around edge use cases

The Q&A section also covers other ethical topics including some important aspects of data cleansing, how a type of deep learning, Generative Adversarial Networks, can alleviate privacy concerns and why AI and data commercialisation is shaping new data products and services.


Fintechs featured in the report

In realising new commercial opportunities, banks and other financial services institutions can follow the lead of agile and innovative fintechs and smaller tech ventures. The report includes contributions from the following:

  • AlphaStream: End-to-end hyper-personalised user experiences for financial services
  • EntropikTech: The world’s leading Emotion AI platform that reads human emotions and helps brands redefine their offerings and experiences
  • Flybits: Empowering banks to engage an audience of one, at scale
  • GV (formerly Google Ventures): Backing founders who transform industries and create new ones
  • Maven Securities: Building new trading technology to ensure fast, efficient and transparent market access
  • Harbr: Delivering refined customer experiences, high-value products and new revenue streams
  • HolisticAI: Software solutions for AI risk management and auditing
  • Illuminate Financial: A thesis-driven venture capital firm dedicated to enterprise fintech and B2B software companies
  • Level E Research: Edinburgh-based startup creating autonomous machine learning investment solutions scaled for the platform economy
  • Meeco: The infrastructure for trusted personal data ecosystems
  • PolyAI: Building enterprise voice assistants that carry on natural conversations with customers to solve their problems
  • ProGrad: Credit risk assessment platform connecting financial institutions with third-level students
  • Quantexa: Creating a new generation of decision intelligence built on context
  • vPhrase: Lets enterprises create highly personalized language-based reports at scale, at machine speed

Get involved

We’re all central to the debate on how individuals harness the value of their own data.

“Think about ethics now and AI can empower rather than oppress us.[1]” – Sir Nigel Shadbolt, Principal of Jesus College, Oxford and Professor of Computing Science, Department of Computer Science

  • Download the Rise Insights report to learn more about how AI adds value to data
  • Register for an Ethics in AI event that Rise is running in conjunction with our colleagues at Barclays Eagle Labs
  • Contact the Rise team in London or New York to meet any of the companies featured in the report or in the Rise ecosystem of over 100 FinTech startups

[1] University of Oxford