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Artificial intelligence is here, says ASIC chief

Artificial intelligence is becoming mainstream, creating challenges and opportunities for regulators, according to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

“As we see the potential of automated financial services, and artificial intelligence playing a role, we need to look to the algorithms behind these services,” Chairman Greg Medcraft told the regulator’s annual forum today.

“These algorithms will need to be transparent so their decisions can be challenged, and not just be considered opaque ‘black boxes’.”

Mr Medcraft says ASIC is increasingly using machine learning software in surveillance, investigation and enforcement.

“We are expanding our capabilities in this area, including machine learning from fuzzy logic, and piloting the machine learning functionality of [software producer] Nuix to make the identification of relevant evidentiary materials more efficient,” he said.

Efficiency gains from regtech may mean staff dedicated to compliance will have an expanded education focus, he says.

ASIC will soon publish an information sheet for industry participants that are introducing and testing distributed ledger technology, or blockchain.

Mr Medcraft says the sheet will be relevant for licensees and start-ups, and will examine technology and risk management requirements.

“We think it will help to fast-track our discussions with stakeholders and we will use the framework as a conversation starter as the technology continues to evolve.”

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