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Data Science Ethics

A Guide for Ethical Data Science

RSS and IFoA logos

The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) and the Royal Statistical Society (RSS) have collaborated to explore the practical and ethical implications of data science. They have published joint ethical guidance which was developed by the IFoA-RSS Joint Data Science Focus Group, compromising of RSS and IFoA volunteer members, and approved by the IFoA Regulation Board.  
 

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RSS and IFoA publish new ethical guidance in data science

Both the Royal Statistical Society (RSS) and the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) believe that the emergence of data science – the analysis of large, unstructured datasets often drawing on new kinds of data sources – is an important development.

Data science and artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to greatly enhance the tools and capacities of those working in statistics and actuarial science, providing for new approaches to solving longstanding problems and opening up new sectors and industries to our members.

This great potential impact can lead to difficult ethical challenges for practitioners and calls for a need for strong ethical values and professionalism if the public interest is to be supported.

To that end, the RSS and the IFoA have worked together to jointly produce a new ethical framework for their members and practitioners working in the field of data science.

Although the field is famously fast-moving, we believe that a framework which draws upon established and reoccurring ethical themes concerning trustworthiness, professionalism, accountability, avoiding harm and the safeguarding of the public interest is well placed to provide helpful guidance for the field as it evolves.

By seeking to bring the core professional values and our commitment to the public interest, which lies at the heart of our respective professions to the field of AI and data science, our goal is to build public trust in the work that our members undertake through the application data ethics.

Created with practitioners in mind, this guide seeks to provide practical support to members on ethical practice. Structured around our five core ethical themes, the guide provides examples of common ethical challenges in the field and how they could be applied. We also provide a wealth of reference material; with links to a wide range of online tools, legal and regulatory reference points and a host of other practical resources on our websites.

Although we’re sure that ethical theory and practice will continue to evolve in this fast-changing field, we’re pleased to be able to offer a strong framework for that evolution that aims to support the work of our members, maximise the benefits inherent in data science and protect the public interest.

John Taylor
IFoA President

A Guide for Ethical Data Science

Data Science Ethics: the role of practitioners

We will be developing IFoA specific guidance for members on data ethics and how this relates to their existing professional obligations. Further information will be provided to members as this progresses.

To find out more about data science and discover further useful resources, visit our Data Science Hub.

Professional Skills Training videos 

We have developed two online Professional Skills Training videos which focus on the challenges of working in a multidisciplinary project team to implement a pilot using AI technology for insurance renewal pricing. These videos can be accessed by members below.

Contact Details

If you any comments or queries in relation to the guidance, please contact us at

dataethics@actuaries.org.uk

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Events calendar

  • Autumn Lecture 2020: Professor Elroy Dimson

    Online webinar
    14 October 2020

    Spaces available

    Many individuals and institutions have a long-term focus, and invest funds for the benefit of future generations. Their strategy should reflect their long horizon. University endowments are one of the oldest classes of institutional investor, and I will present the first study of the management of these endowments over the very long term.

  • GIRO Conference 2020 Webinar Series

    Available to watch globally in November.
    02-13 November 2020
    Spaces available

    This year's GIRO has been re-designed as a virtual conference to offer members and non-members the opportunity to get up to date content from leading experts in the general insurance field via online webinars. All sessions will be recorded and made available to purchase and re-watch post-event on the IFoA's GI Online Learning Resource area.

  • Life Conference 2020 Webinar Series

    Online
    16 November 2020 - 27 November 2020

    Spaces available

    This year's Life Conference has been re-designed as a virtual conference to offer members and non-members the opportunity to get up to date content from leading experts in the life insurance field via online webinars. All sessions will be recorded and made available to purchase and re-watch post-event on the IFoA's website.

  • Spaces available

    The webinar will discuss the challenges and opportunities schemes face in evaluating end game options, choosing a target state and understanding the impact this strategic decision could have on member outcomes long after the “end state” is reached. Adolfo, Kevin and Rhian bring over 60 years of experience in the industry and a variety of perspectives as scheme actuary, covenant adviser, trustee, de-risking adviser and insurer.

  • Spaces available

    Cash-flow driven investing is a game-changer for DB pension funds navigating their end-game. Suitable for sponsors who want to reduce risks on their balance sheets. And for trustees, it shifts the focus to providing greater certainty of returns, managing funding level volatility and ensuring they have enough income to pay cash-flow requirements.

  • Spaces available

    The talk will provide an understanding of the priorities and relationships between deficit reduction contributions, in the context of wider scheme funding, and different types of value outflow from the employer based on the working party’s recently published report.