CLOSING TIME: In the classic sci-fi film "2001: A Space Odyssey," two astronauts find their lives in jeopardy when an onboard ship computer thinks it is smarter than the humans that built it and takes over their space mission. A central concept to the story was the danger of artificial intelligence (AI), capable of out-thinking and possibly overtaking its human creators.
Countrywide loan-underwriting expert system (clues) is an advanced, automated mortgage-underwriting rule-based expert system. The system was developed to increase the production capacity and productivity of Countrywide branches, improve the consistency of underwriting, and reduce the cost of originating a loan. The system receives selected information from the loan application, credit report, and appraisal. If the system approves the loan, no further review is required, and the application is funded.
We were inspired this week by author Tom Chatfield's article in the Guardian on how Technology is killing the myth of human centrality, where he described robots as: "Tireless, infinitely patient, endlessly consistent -- our creations measure up in ways we can only dream of." That accurately defines how we believe the role technology -- and more specifically Artificial Intelligence -- plays in our lives. If we can embrace our own shortcomings as humans and build the tools that fill that gap, we will only become stronger and more efficient.
Custom DU is an automated underwriting system that enables mortgage lenders to build their own business rules that facilitate assessing borrower eligibility for different mortgage products. By means of the user interface, lenders can also customize their underwriting findings reports, test the rules that they have defined, and publish changes to business rules on a real-time basis, all without any software modifications. The user interface enforces structure and consistency, enabling business users to focus on their underwriting guidelines when converting their business policy to rules. Using Custom DU, lenders can create different rule sets for their products and assign them to different channels of the business, allowing for centralized control of underwriting policies and procedures--even if lenders have decentralized operations.
An end-to-end system was created at Genworth Financial to automate the underwriting of long-term care (LTC) and life insurance applications. Relying heavily on artificial intelligence techniques, the system has been in production since December 2002 and in 2004 completely automates the underwriting of 19 percent of the LTC applications.