FEATURE12 February 2024

A question of bias

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AI Behavioural science Cost of Living Features Finance Impact Inclusion Technology UK

Research has identified biases against minority groups when it comes to certain financial products. Phoebe Ward and Carol McNaughton Nicholls examine how AI could potentially exacerbate the issue.

high tech imagery of a hand etched in light reaching for scales

Debates about how new technology impacts our lives are not new. However, the pace of this debate has changed recently, fuelled by increased access to generative artificial intelligence (AI) tools; technologies that raise fundamental questions about knowledge-making, decision-making, and what it means to be human.

As insight practitioners, we think about these challenges constantly. We need to understand how insight and evidence can help society navigate new challenges. We know how important a rich evidence base can be in cutting through complex landscapes. Crucially, evidence allows us to have informed discussion and truly examine who is impacted by change.

New insights on complex topics can trigger the need for more research and debate. In 2022, Citizens Advice explored how personal data and algorithms could be leading to discriminatory pricing for people of colour buying car insurance. The research shone a spotlight on the use of new practices in financial services specifically, and raised the question: are similar trends happening elsewhere?

The findings from the Citizens Advice research, in ...