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Banking Updated: 30 Jun 2017

Artificial intelligence (AI) has only begun to change banking

According to the experts, artificial intelligence is not only a banking reality, it will change the sector completely. The transformational power of artificial intelligence can already be glimpsed in the form of chatbots, robo-advisors, and Robotic Process Automation.

Let’s take robo-advisors as an example. Neal Cross, Chief Innovation Officer at DBS Bank, states that they perform the same functions as traditional financial advisors, i.e. they attempt “to help customers realize their financial goals.” Nevertheless, he adds, robots will not be able to replace humans in this function.

Roman Stanek, the Founder and CEO of GoodData, thinks that it is also important to emphasise the advantages of “financial robots”, such as the fact that they do not charge commissions. Both of these experts participated in MoneyConf 2017, which was held in Madrid and featured presentations on the processing of artificial intelligence and its contribution to financial services.

Another new banking protagonist will be Robotic Process Automation. Cross states: “It will automate many banking tasks. It can handle many repetitive tasks and always do them well. This will have a great impact, not only in the world of finance, but in all sectors.” Artificial intelligence will be the model the banking sector will apply next.

Neal Cross at the MoneyConf event, which took pace in Madrid.

The revolution in customer services will come in the form of chatbots. These robots are able to converse with customers and, according to Cross, will increase the functionality of mobile banking exponentially: “If, for example, you want to know how much you have spent on coffee during the month, you can download an Excel sheet that will give you the amount. However, you can also ask a chatbot, “How much have I spent on coffee this month’, and it will give you the answer.”

Artificial intelligence will also develop new functionalities in other areas of concern to banks such as money laundering, legal issues, and fraud detection.

Artificial intelligence is in fact already being used for legal tasks. Stanek explains: “It is believed that approximately 100,000 jobs in the legal area and in compliance will disappear in the next few years since it is much easier for machines to scan documents and understand them than it is for humans.” Machines will assume the more mechanical functions and free up humans for more complicated tasks.

The fight against money laundering is an area in which “it will be impossible to have success without artificial intelligence”. It will also be more efficient to detect credit card fraud and other fraudulent transactions with this technology.

Intelligent machines

Artificial intelligence will also be used in banking, for example, to eliminate the need to make decisions and perform tasks that no one wants to do. It will also be useful to accelerate processes and make them more economical.

Neal Cross believes that, as regards customers, “we are looking in the wrong direction”. He is convinced that banks should focus on their customers since “artificial intelligence will change bank customers, and this means that banks will have to change the way they operate”.

In a study conducted by Oxford University, artificial intelligence experts were asked about the possibility that machines could become more intelligent than humans. Fifty per cent of those surveyed stated that, within 50 years, machines will be more intelligent than humans since they will be able to do exactly what humans do today.

Roman Stanek speaks of “the 80/20 artificial intelligence rule”, which holds that intelligent systems will perform 80% of all jobs in the next ten years. He stated: “Only 20% of the work, that which requires greater expertise in specific areas, will be performed by humans.”