By: Zach Winn
Experts in AI and finance shared insights into how AI can give financial services and fintech companies a competitive advantage in a webinar hosted by the Institute for Experiential AI (EAI) at Northeastern.
AI will be a core component of successful companies moving forward. The experts, who came from across Northeastern, including EAI, the D'Amore-McKim School of Business, and the Khoury College of Computer Sciences, explained how AI is already transforming the industry, giving examples of how companies like Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase have successfully deployed AI. They also explained how AI can be used to improve processes in customer service, credit and risk assessment, trading, back office operations, fraud detection, and more. Included in the discussion was the potential for blockchain and AI to automate tasks like underwriting loans.
Usama Fayyad, executive director of the Institute for Experiential AI and professor of the practice at Khoury College of Computer Sciences, opened the panel and discussed his experience using AI to help Barclays Africa increase revenue by helping customers avoid overdraft charges. He also shared his experience using AI to help companies improve personalization for customers, increase cross channel engagement, and save workers like financial advisors time.
Associate Professor Yakov Bart, a core faculty member at EAI and the Joseph G. Riesman Research Professor at the D'Amore-McKim School of Business, then drilled down on how companies can improve customer experience using AI. Associate Teaching Professor at Northeastern’s D'Amore-McKim School of Business Felipe Cortes finished by explaining how companies can improve security, transparency, and efficiency by combining blockchain and AI. Examples of the possibilities unlocked by combining blockchain and AI include leveraging smart contracts, minimizing fee structures, and increasing the speed of transactions.
“Blockchain and AI were developed as independent technologies, but more and more companies are now integrating the two, and it creates some amazing synergies,” Cortes said in the presentation.
Along with the promise of AI, the panel also discussed the potential pitfalls that companies need to avoid. The experts explained why algorithmic biases are especially dangerous in the sector and how to weed them out. One problem is that such algorithms have no commonsense reasoning or understanding of their outputs.
To safeguard against such problems, the experts emphasized the importance of a human-centric AI strategy.
“Despite data’s importance, most organizations struggle to make it work as an asset,” Fayyad explained. “The ‘AI haves’ who are using AI — Google, Microsoft, Amazon — know that human intervention is the only way to keep the algorithms on track. Human intervention is probably the most important aspect of this system, and these companies invest a lot in the human in the loop.”
To get all the insights and watch the full presentation, click here.