Marco, what can we do about AI? Marco, are we doing enough on AI?" The questions all come from senior executives, desperate to harness the potential that AI promises. Yet Bressan is bemused by how the technology is talked about at board level and in the media. "Currently it denotes a vision of the future; an aspect of the sci-fi imagination; something that you still can't do. But the truth is senior financial executives have been doing AI-related work, research and deployment of products for years." At the most rudimentary level, AI involves teaching machines to learn and to interact in order to undertake cognitive tasks that were usually performed by humans.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been around for decades but a convergence of Big Data, increased computing capabilities, and user demand has created a perfect storm where AI applications are evolving at a rapid pace. As a result, AI has reached an inflection point in financial services. Developing systems that learn, adapt and respond autonomously rather than simply executing instructions will be the primary objective of financial institutions over the next couple of years. Synechron's Artificial Intelligence platform – Neo – was developed in our Financial Innovation Labs (FinLabs) to help the financial services industry capitalize on this opportunity. Neo uniquely brings together Synechron's digital, business consulting and technology capabilities, allowing financial institutions to deploy cutting-edge AI solutions that solve complex business challenges using Natural Language Processing (NLP), Chatbots, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Cognitive Machine Learning, Data Science, and Robo-Advisor for financial services.
As more financial advisors adopt the use of artificial intelligence, the technology will help them avoid spending their time answering mundane questions and focus more on asset allocation or financial planning. The fear that artificial intelligence will replace financial advisors like other jobs is common, but the intent of the technology is to give investors more tools and sophisticated information immediately. Instead of waiting or relying on their advisor to answer questions such as how the fees of an ETF compare to those of a mutual fund over the next ten years or how increasing the monthly contribution to an IRA by $100 affects their returns, clients can receive answers from artificial intelligence and rely on their advisors for more nuanced deep-dives. As artificial intelligence matures through its various disciplines such as machine learning, image and text classification, natural language processing or speech recognition, the technology is designed to conduct very routine and specific tasks and able to replace some jobs held by humans. The technology is programmed to mimic human conversation based on "its programming and mining tons of data to figure out what the best answer may be," said Grant Easterbrook, co-founder of Dream Forward 401(k), a New York-based low-cost 401(k) plan provider.
In the banking sector, AI powers the smart chatbots that provide clients with comprehensive self-help solutions while reducing the call-centers' workload. Voice-controlled virtual assistants powered by smart tech like Amazon's Alexa are also gaining traction fast, which is no surprise: boasting a self-education feature, they get smarter every day, so you should expect tremendous improvements here. Both tools can check balances, schedule payments, look up account activity and more.