Bill Maurer, professor of anthropology and law, has received a grant from Capital One to study the human implications of how artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) are applied in the financial services industry. Using case studies in the applications of AI/ML that may increasingly affect people’s financial wellbeing, Maurer will propose frameworks to mitigate bias in consumer-facing AI/ML processes, with the goal of more broadly helping to institute responsibility and fairness standards in the banking and fintech sector.
“An illustrative industry-wide topic we will be exploring is the example of alternative credit scoring based on automated systems and new data sources. Social media and online behavior may open doors to credit for the underserved, who lack traditional credit histories,” says Maurer. “Yet there is a growing concern that they may also lead to discriminatory effects that are difficult to challenge because the data sources and techniques for scoring risk are opaque.”
Maurer is dean of the UCI School of Social Sciences, director of the UCI Institute for Money, Technology & Financial Inclusion (IMTFI), and a Filene Fellow, an honor bestowed by the Filene Research Institute, which supports research for the credit union industry. He is one of the leading experts on money and finance. As an anthropologist, he has particular expertise in emerging, alternative and experimental forms of money and finance, payment technologies, and their legal implications. He has published on topics ranging from offshore financial services to mobile phone-enabled money transfers, Islamic finance, the history of money and its technologies, and blockchain/distributed ledger systems. His work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Intel, and the Russell Sage Foundation. It has had an impact on U.S. and global policies for mobile payment and financial access, and is regularly featured in the media. In 2015, he was appointed to the Board on Behavioral, Cognitive and Sensory Sciences of the National Academy of Sciences in 2015, and in 2016, he was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Maurer received his bachelor’s from Vassar College and his master’s and doctorate from Stanford University.
His Capital One-funded study will run through December 2019 and will culminate in a convening of a workshop with subject matter experts and a published report.