16 April 2018

TOP 4 EVENT TAKEAWAYS: Artificial Intelligence in Financial Services

EVENT DETAILS:

Hosted by: Fintech Payments Association of Ireland

Date: 12/04/2018

Location: Convention Centre, Spencer Dock, D1

SPEAKERS:

Michael Concannon – Head of Strategy & Development, FPAI

Michael McMahon - Head of Artificial Intelligence & Cognation, IBM Ireland

Ken Cregan - Associate Partner, Financial Services, IBM Ireland

The event, hosted by Fintech Payments Association of Ireland set out to define the parameters of Artificial Intelligence, while illustrating its current and future uses in Financial Services. Here’s our round-up of the top thought-provokers discussed at the event:

1. AI HAS MANY USES IN FINANCIAL SERVICES, AND IS CRUCIAL FOR SUCCESS IN THE FUTURE

Whether you realise it or not, small areas of financial services have already leveraged AI – primarily to improve the customer experience and save on costs. On a broader scale, speakers at the event focused on AI usage in the financial industry in these key categories:

  • Engagement and Personalisation

This includes the use of chatbots for a better customer service and automated interactions that improve the overall customer journey.

  • Actionable Insights

AI can learn patterns and trends, providing the business with better forecasting and analytics.

  • Operational Transformation

The ability to monitor risk and enable regulatory compliance across business processes.

2. PEOPLE AND MACHINES MAKE A WINNING TEAM

It’s the oldest of the AI conversations, with people’s concerns mounting as they ask “how do humans work with robots, and will they eventually replace us?” In short, the answer is no. Not in the Financial Services industry.

On the contrary, AI will actually take the robot out of humans, allowing people to more meaningful and valuable work and helping them to move away from repetitive, task-based jobs. A recent report from Gartner which was highlighted at the event, indicates that new jobs will be created as a result of AI, ranging from management level to entry-level and low-level positions.

The report adds “AI applied to non-routine work is more likely to assist humans than replace them, as combinations of humans and machines will perform more effectively than either human experts or AI-driven machines working alone will."

Ginni Rometty (CEO, IBM) agrees, saying on the day “Man and machine always get a better answer than man alone or machine alone.”

3. ENTERPRISE-GRADE AI IS CONTROLLED BY THE BUSINESS

In Financial Services, AI is not everything talking to everything. It is a way to automate work processes that humans don’t need to be involved in.

The team from IBM assured the audience that with AI in Financial Services, you own the model, you design it and you decide the rules in which it operates. The system must have traceability, inputs must be stored, steps and outcomes must be visible without the need to look at algorithms. This is the criteria of “enterprise-grade AI”.

What this means is, AI in financial services is controlled by the business, and should make it easy for the business to set rules and inputs, while providing easy access to data for the end-user.

Additionally, during the Q&A discussion, it was mentioned that Singapore Central Bank have created a body to assess and creates laws and regulations around AI control.

4. FOR A SUCCESSFUL TRANSFORMATION, PUT PEOPLE FRONT AND CENTRE

It’s not all about data. People are central to a successful digital transformation. There needs to be a shift in mindset and culture within the organisation; one that promotes constant learning and adoption of a blended workforce. 

Adding AI capability to a business is not just about plugging in technology. It is a transformation process that requires change management. The key to a successful and effective transformation is to bring people on a journey.

Even the strongest of detractors or opponents of AI can be won over according to world-champion chess player Garry Kasparov, who was famously beaten by IBM's AI program just over 20 years ago His message was loud and clear: don’t fear intelligent machines. Work with them.

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