New technologies should be ’carefully considered at the development stage and regularly reviewed’, says executive director

Financial service providers have been warned that they need to be “mindful” of the impact artificial intelligence (AI) can have on vulnerable customers. 

Matthew Maxwell Scott, executive director at the Association of Consumer Support Organisations (ACSO), told Insurance Times that new technologies should be “carefully considered at the development stage and regularly reviewed to manage the risks”.

It came after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak noted that AI presented opportunities as well acknowledging that it must be applied safely.

“AI is surely one of the greatest opportunities before us,” he said.

“The possibilities are extraordinary, but we must, and we will do it safely.”

Maxwell Scott added: “Financial services providers spying the prospect of cost savings need also to be mindful of the impacts new technologies can have on more vulnerable consumers. This should be carefully considered at the development stage and regularly reviewed to manage the risks.

“The more nebulous concepts of values and freedoms that the Prime Minister pointed to are important, but it is around the day-to-day realities of customer care where AI will need to prove its adaptability if it, and by extension the companies using it, is to be fully trusted.”


Last week (14 June 2023), Verlingue corporate director Ian McKinney, told Insurance Times that he felt it was “difficult to envisage a point in the near future where AI systems could be considered safe enough to use on a day-to-day basis”.

However, Sunak said he wanted to make the UK “not just the intellectual home but the geographical home of AI safety regulations”.

To do this, the government will be undertaking research in the UK with the £100m it ploughed into its AI Taskforce which it launched back in April 2023.

It will also be working with Frontier Labs, Google Deep Minds, ChatGPT creator OpenAI and AI safety and research firm Anthropic.

Sunak said: “I know people are concerned, the very pioneers of AI are warning us about the ways these technologies can undermine our values and freedoms through to the most extreme risks of all, that’s why leading on AI also means leading on AI safety.

“AI doesn’t respect traditional national borders. We need global cooperation between nations and labs.”

He continued: “We are an island of innovation, but at a moment like this when the tectonic plates of technology are shifting, not just in AI but in quantum, semi-conductors and much more, we cannot rest satisfied at where we stand.

“We must act and act quickly, not only if we are to retain our position as one of the world’s tech capitals but to go even further and to make this the best country in the world to start, grow and invest in tech businesses.”