This is the seventh edition of the OECD Business and Finance Outlook, an annual publication that presents unique data and analysis on the trends, both positive and negative, that are shaping tomorrow’s world of business, finance and investment.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has progressed rapidly in recent years and is being applied in settings ranging from health care, to scientific research, to financial markets. It offers opportunities, amongst others, to reinforce financial stability, enhance market efficiency and support the implementation of public policy goals. These potential benefits need to be accompanied by appropriate governance frameworks and best practices to mitigate risks that may accompany the deployment of AI systems in both the public and private sphere. Using analysis from a wide range of perspectives, the 2021 Outlook examines the implications arising from the growing importance of AI-powered applications in finance, responsible business conduct, competition, foreign direct investment and regulatory oversight and supervision. It offers guidelines and a number of policy solutions to help policy makers achieve a balance between harvesting the opportunities offered by AI while also mitigating its risks.

The publication was prepared under the supervision of Antonio Gomes and Antonio Capobianco, supported by James Mancini and Cristina Volpin, with contributions from Cristina Volpin (executive summary), Karine Perset, Luis Aranda, Louise Hatem and Laura Galindo (Chapter 1), Iota Kaousar Nassr (Chapter 2), Rashad Abelson (Chapter 3), James Mancini, Sophie Flaherty and Takuya Ohno (Chapter 4), Emeline Denis (Chapter 5), and Joachim Pohl and Nicolas Rosselot (Chapter 6). The following colleagues from the Directorate for Financial and Enterprise provided comments and other contributions: Daniel Blume, Antonio Capobianco, Pedro Caro de Sousa, Mary Crane-Charef, Thomas Dannequin, Pamela Duffin, Laura Dunbabin, Renato Ferrandi, Sophie Flaherty, Oliver Garrett-Jones, Vitor Geromel, Tyler Gillard, Allan Jorgensen, Miles Larbey, Federica Maiorano, Ana Novik, Takuya Ohno, Robert Patalano, Baxter Roberts, Cristina Volpin, Paul Whittaker and Mamiko Yokoi-Arai.

This Outlook is unique among previous editions for having been prepared in close collaboration with the Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation. This collaboration reflects the cross-sectoral nature of the OECD AI Principles and the OECD’s commitment to work across policy disciplines and specific contexts towards the implementation of the Principles. Under the leadership of Director Andrew Wyckoff, colleagues from the Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation worked closely with the authors throughout the process and provided extensive comments on all chapters: Brigitte Acoca, Luis Aranda, Laurent Bernat, Sarah Box, Mario Cervantes, Gallia Daor, Karine Perset, Dirk Pilat, Audrey Plonk and Jeremy West.

The chapters also benefited from comments by the OECD Economics Department, Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs, Directorate for Public Governance, and Trade and Agriculture Directorate.

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