“Endless opportunities” was the upbeat theme of WE ARE GUERNSEY’S 2022 Funds Forum, with two panels exploring how sustainability and technology will help drive the post-pandemic economic recovery globally.
Keynote speaker, renowned economist, author and broadcaster Dharshini David, concluded her scene-setting address where she assessed how we arrived at where we are now, specifically in terms of the global economic picture on an optimistic note saying: “Out of crisis comes innovation – there is light at the end of the tunnel.”
Dharshini’s speech set the scene for a panel discussion that saw experts demystify some common misunderstandings about technologies such as artificial intelligence and explore the role technology can play in financial services.
PanellistsClara Durodie – CEO, Cognitive Finance Sasha Kazantseva-Miller – Deputy, States of Guernsey Amarjit Singh – Partner, EY Wim Ritz – Global Head of Funds, ZEDRAKey takeawaysTechnology is both an enabler to improve the efficiency of a process and provides important insights for better decision-making and an asset creator. The development of digital assets is moving at pace and presents investor risk. The umbrella of oversight and governance is needed over both branches of technology.Artificial intelligence is a hugely important enabler for other emerging technologies – understanding how AI works will help to deploy other innovations. However, there is a lot of confusion around terminology with many different, often misleading definitions. For example, machine learning and AI are often used interchangeably or alongside each other when in fact, machine learning is a subset of AI.The way in which technology such as AI algorithms is used has the potential to reduce its carbon footprint; understanding how technology intersects with the ESG agenda presents a challenge that must be addressed. Adverse effects on the climate and wider society must be minimised, while also harnessing its potential.Financial services jurisdictions like Guernsey are a platform to enable investment into anything of value, and while newer digital assets are more volatile and risky, it is possible to establish legislation and frameworks that regulate to protect the investor and meet global standards around AML etc. Given that there’s a lot of ideology behind the crypto movement, which stemmed from the concept that something should be built independent of the government, could international finance communities play a regulatory role which satisfies both the ideology and the need for investor protection?Blind faith in technology can lead to mistakes being made. Governance and oversight of technology gets very complicated very quickly, and the ethical integrity of data is everything in the advancement of both technologies like AI. Awareness of potential pitfalls is essential. Like the innovations required to meet net-zero ambitions, humans are learning as new technology is developed; it’s an open field. Conversations need to be open and honest in order to keep moving forward in a responsible way. From a policymaking perspective, technology has unintended negative consequences. For example, digital innovations like cryptocurrencies must be aligned with ESG principles. It is necessary to look at the energy consumption and emissions from infrastructure such as data centres and lessons must be learned quickly to avoid repeating the mistakes of the pioneers. The societal implications of automation must be considered as well as the ethical aspects of AI and the governance of trading or investing in digital assets.