New era of tech-driven legal and financial services to boost productivity and improve customer experience

  • Law and insurance services set to be modernised by AI thanks to new research delivered through the modern Industrial Strategy
  • AI will revolutionise customer experiences, speeding up processing times and helping customers get answers to queries more quickly 
  • Comes a year on from the launch of the modern Industrial Strategy, the Government’s plan to boost jobs and drive innovation in every sector and corner of the UK 

Using AI to reduce processing times and save money for consumers, improve customer engagement, and consider how people interact with technology, is the focus of new research commissioned by Business Secretary Greg Clark.

Three new research projects, overseen by ESRC on behalf of UKRI, will investigate how businesses can make best use of AI in insurance and law as well as analysing consumer attitudes to AI. The projects backed by £3 million through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund will focus on:

  • Technology Driven Change and Next Generation Insurance Value Chains will consider how AI can be applied to processes such as underwriting and claims processing, speeding up the process for customers. Working with business, the project will consider how AI technologies can transform delivery of insurance services and save consumers money.
  • Unlocking the Potential of AI for Law will look how AI can be put to use in legal services and how to unlock its potential for good. The project will bring academics, lawyers, businesses and programmers together to develop the skills, training and codes of practice to deliver these benefits. The team will gather best practices across the world, outline data challenges, identify where and how AI can legitimately resolve disputes
  • Innovating Next Generation Services through Collaborative Design will consider future uncertainties about the roll-out of new AI technologies in accounting and legal services by using insight, existing studies, developments in AI and service design, as well as analysing the potential barriers to AI-based business model innovation. The project will work with mid-size firms across law and accountancy. 

Business Secretary Greg Clark said:

“The UK is the home of AI - from Alan Turing’s pioneering work to today’s growing use of AI throughout the economy. Artificial Intelligence is changing how we work, live and play. 

“Through our modern Industrial Strategy, we want to build on our history of innovation to develop and deploy AI to create new opportunities and improve services across the whole economy.”

The Next-Generation Services Challenge seeks to take on the biggest industrial and societal challenges of our time. Services account for almost 80% of the UK economy, with financial and professional services alone employing around 2.2 million people and valued at £190 billion. 

Today’s announcement builds on the Government’s commitment to help drive forward innovation in the public sector and help it seize the opportunities of AI. The Government recently announced £10 million of funding through the Regulator’s Pioneer Fund to support bodies to create a regulatory environment that gives businesses the confidence to use emerging technologies.

Stephen Browning, Challenge Director of Next Generation Services, UKRI said: 

“AI and Data driven technologies have the potential to transform our services sectors but in order for the UK to derive the biggest benefit, we will need to address not only the technical challenges that application of these technologies requires but also the human behavioural challenges that must be addressed. That is why I’m particularly excited by these three projects that bring multi-disciplinary research to bear, examining business model, behavioural and technical challenges with the use of AI and Data and together addressing Accountancy, Insurance and Legal Services.”

Lord Chancellor, David Gauke said:

“Ensuring our world-leading legal services industry remains the primary choice for international businesses as we prepare to leave the European Union is a priority for this Government. 
“Widespread use of Artificial Intelligence is set to transform the £24 billion sector, allowing innovative companies to accurately review contracts at high speed and develop ground-breaking tools that could be used to help predict case outcomes. 
“This new funding will foster innovation and increase understanding of AI to strengthen the UK’s reputation as a global centre for legal services and emerging technologies.”

These projects will run for up to three years and commence in December 2018.

Professor Jennifer Rubin, ESRC Executive Chair and Industrial Strategy Council Member said: “New technologies represent a fascinating set of challenges for researchers from many disciplines. From computing and AI to behavioural studies and beyond, social sciences will have a crucial role to play in looking at the uptake and application of technologies in service innovation and delivery. These exciting projects will bolster the UK as a leading centre for research into emerging technologies. By working at the frontiers of interdisciplinary science, these projects have the potential for significant economic and social impacts.”

The AI and Data Grand Challenge

Artificial intelligence and the data-driven economy is one of the four Grand Challenges within the modern Industrial Strategy. Using AI across a variety of industries, including law and financial services, will put the UK at the forefront of the AI and data revolution.

The Modern Industrial Strategy

The modern Industrial Strategy, published last year, set out how the whole of the UK can build on these strengths, extend them into the future, and capitalise on new opportunities. Investing in science and research to keep us at the forefront of new technologies and the benefits they bring. Nurturing the talent of tomorrow - through more outstanding schools, world-leading universities and the technical skills that will drive our economy.  And transforming the places where people live and work – the places where ideas and inspiration are born – by backing businesses and building infrastructure not just in London and the South East but across every part of our country.