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Enframing the values. A study on how the use of Artificial Intelligence can hinder or promote Sparebanken Sør’s values

The central concern is how a savings bank can ensure that the technological AI solutions it chooses to implement do not jeopardize its values in ways that could hinder its future as a business.

Elisabeth Austad Asser

Ph.D. candidate

Elisabeth Austad Asser will defend the thesis Enframing the values. A study on how the use of Artificial Intelligence can hinder or promote Sparebanken Sør’s values for the PhD degree.

More information about doctoral defence and trial lecture.

Summary of the thesis

Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly becoming a central component of many businesses' strategies to enhance efficiency, create added value, and gain competitive advantages. The Norwegian banking sector is also at the nascent stages of incorporating AI technology to improve customer satisfaction, mitigate risks, and augment profits. With its roots tracing back to 1824 and being one of the country's largest savings banks, Sparebanken Sør also finds itself in the beginning of this transformation.

This dissertation encompasses the various ways in which technological progress can challenge a bank that, for nearly two centuries, has centered its operations and built its values around local ties and human relations. The central concern is how a savings bank can ensure that the technological AI solutions it chooses to implement do not jeopardize its values in ways that could hinder its future as a business.

A fundamental underlying question in the dissertation is the nature of technology as a phenomenon. The premise upon which the dissertation is built is that setting goals for the development and use of AI technology is a fundamental human task. This premise draws upon theoretical foundations from Martin Heidegger's philosophy of technology. If AI technology is developed without central considerations of its economic, political, and ethical objectives, there is a risk of creating technologies that undermine human rights, societal sustainability, and the very values held by the business in ways that may be profoundly incomprehensible today, both for society at large and particularly for the savings bank.

Consequently, this study contributes to a values-based discourse concerning a savings bank's utilization of artificial intelligence. By starting with concrete, defined values within Sparebanken Sør as identified in the dissertation, the aim is to establish a knowledge contribution that empowers industry personnel to make normative decisions regarding the use of AI within their operations.

The dissertation employs a combination of theoretical and empirical research to identify how AI potentially jeopardizes values in general and, furthermore, how this may translate to the banking sector and, specifically, to Sparebanken Sør. The study explores various scenarios for the implementation of AI within the bank and evaluates how these scenarios may impact the bank's values. Ultimately, the dissertation provides recommendations on how Sparebanken Sør can harness AI in a manner that advances its core values.