Can AI Be Programmed to Make Fair Lending Decisions?

“Unless they’re auditing their algorithms for fairness and showing me those audits, why shouldn’t we expect something to be going wrong?” said Cathy O’Neil, author of the book Weapons of Math Destruction. As lenders dabble with artificial intelligence in credit decisions, debate has stirred around whether AI and even more traditional decision-making algorithms can be trusted to make sound decisions. In an earlier article, we posited that the use of AI in underwriting machines could have unintended consequences — such as shutting disadvantaged people out of the financial system. That’s because AI machines can learn on their own, are not strictly governed by rules, and they can make their own rules and assumptions. Marc Stein, CEO of, provider of an AI underwriting platform used by several alternative lenders, took…

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