Are we embracing AI in finance?

31 October, the Digital Innovation Summit included two fascinating artificial intelligence (AI) sessions. Here are some key takeaways from those sessions.

The keynote speaker for the event was Dame Wendy Hall. She is a Regius Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southampton. She has recently been appointed to the United Nation’s high-level advisory body on AI.

  • Dame Wendy Hall initiated this session with the discussion of the historic evolution of AI. From the time of Alan Turing to present day, with generative AI systems being developed and expanded to scale.
  • She noted that the UK is lagging other countries in terms of AI regulation, given the EU’s AI Act, and the US executive order on Artificial Intelligence.
  • Her set of recommendations for financial services firms in the UK was the need to experiment, test, and evaluate AI systems before they are deployed.

The panel consisted of four prominent speakers: Lord Holmes from the House of Lords, Holly Middleton from IBM, Mohit Sarvaiya from BNY Melon, and Paul Dongha from Lloyds Banking Group.

The panel then delved into the following common themes on the use of AI in the financial services sector.

  1. Firstly, the panel highlighted that technology and finance can work in synergy to solve the problems that banks are facing. They agreed that the banking industry is likely to embrace (and experiment with) AI and machine learning models to augment human decision-making over the coming years.
  2. Secondly, the panel identified two example use cases of embracing AI in finance. The initial one focused on predictive analytics to detect fraud, which is already common. The latter one focused on the use of generative AI to enhance conversational chatbots and optimize customer service.
  3. Finally, the panel also highlighted the ethical need for public policy to address issues like algorithmic bias. They also touched upon ensuring that humans are kept in the loop in deploying AI models widely.

Overall, the panel were techno-optimists who argued in favor of use of technology adoption in financial services to drive efficiency, and solve the problems like fraud, and money laundering. They agreed that AI is likely to augment human capabilities in decision-making in finance. However, they advocated for the need of public policies to keep up with the risks, like bias in models and ensuring that humans are kept in the loop.

Watch out for our report on the ‘impact of AI on financial services’ due out soon.