695th Lord Mayor’s Ethical AI Initiative

Aim: To provide ways in which professionals and firms worldwide can respond to the ethical challenges of Artificial Intelligence (AI, machine-learning)

The Worshipful Company of Information Technologists, in association with the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI), British Computer Society, BSI, United Kingdom Accreditation Service, London Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Northeastern University, and Z/Yen Group, with the cooperation of Citigroup, London Metal Exchange, and LearnerShape has launched an initiative to develop ethical AI standards. Initially the standards are embodied in course for professionals working with AI. The Initiative has now moved to promote standards for firmwide certification. The approach is international rather than national, and promotes the use of existing ISO standards rather than the creation of new ones.


AI has the potential to affect society and individuals materially in both positive and negative ways. Rapid development of AI technology means that ethical considerations must be taken into account from the beginning of the design process. AI systems rely on large amounts of data, which raise privacy concerns.  Without ethical guidelines and regulations in place, the misuse or mishandling of data can result in harm to individuals or groups.  Ideally, AI systems are transparent, accountable, and inclusive, and do not reinforce or amplify existing inequalities.

As AI becomes more advanced and widespread, there are growing concerns about issues such as bias, transparency, accountability, and safety.  If people do not believe that AI is being developed and used in a responsible and ethical manner, they hesitate to use or interact with beneficial technologies.


Professional Certification

On 27 June 2023 we launched the “695th Lord Mayor’s Ethical AI Initiative” on “Delivering Ethics Courses For AI Deployers & Builders” at CISI, starting in financial services.  We have begun with two online course , one professionals in finance, www.cisi.org/ai, and one for computer professionals, www.campaign.bcs.org/ethicalai_preregister. Since 10 November 2023 we have had over 5,000 course registrants and several hundred graduates, in over 50 countries from over 500 firms, including seven regulators and four central banks.

Firmwide Certification

We are promoting the use of ISO/IEC 42001:2023 Artificial Intelligence – Management System by firms. For comparison, this is an organisational certification similar to ISO 9000, ISO 14000, etc. At the TIC Summit 2024, being held on 14 May in Brussels, representatives of more than 25 nations quality infrastructure bodies will be signing the Walbrook AI QI Accord.

‘Low Risk’

This initiative aims to ensure that AI is developed and deployed in ways that benefit society, while minimising potential harm.  Ethical AI training can help ensure that AI is developed and deployed in a way that aligns with our values, respects human rights, and promotes the common good. This initiative should establish ethical guidelines and principles for AI development, encourage transparency and accountability in AI systems, and promote collaboration and dialogue among stakeholders.

In combination, 42001 certification and a reasonably number of trained professionals, a firm should be able to be categorised as ‘low risk’, particularly under the EU’s AI Law.

Course Development

There are three obvious types of professional qualification:

1 – Domain qualifications for ‘AI Deployers’, e.g. the responsible deployment of AI.  CISI is the financial services domain certificate provider; BCS for IT; etc.  Discussions with other sectors indicate interest in areas such as law, accountancy, surveying, and pharmaceuticals.  This takes the educational form of a Professional Assessment course, circa 8 hours.  Refresher or update mini-courses might also be considered. 

2  – An ‘AI Builder’ qualification for software designers, engineers, and computer scientists.  BCS would be the certificate provider.  This is likely to take the form of a Professional Certificate, circa 100 to 150 hours.  This is a significant undertaking, and BCS are observing the creation of the AI Deployer course before committing to an AI Builder course. This work is likely to be done in conjunction with the Open Data Institute who have made significant progress on a rich curriculum.

3 – Senior Executive (C-Suite) qualifications.

CISI and BCS are leading course development.  The course is in six parts, with a starting outline of:

In order to have a broad-based financial services perspective, a wide range of financial services firms are being sought for the course.

Steering Group

While course development is underway and led by relevant institutes, the role of the Steering Group is just that, steering:

  • making intellectual connections and contributions;
  • making personal connections to people or organisations who might usefully contribute;
  • providing a sounding board and critiquing function;
  • publicising when appropriate, particularly towards the end of the Initiative.

WCIT and Professor Mainelli have appointed Liveryman Nicholas Beale as Chair of the Steering Group.  The Steering Group is exploring how to provide regular updates for a rapidly changing field, including via CISI’s monthly ethics columns. We are actively exploring extending the course to other professions such as solicitors, barristers, surveyors, and accountants.

For further information:

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