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AI and Humans: A Winning Combination

By Matthew Key, Head Of Customer Innovation, Global Banking And Financial Markets, BT Group plc [LON: BT.A]

Matthew Key, Head Of Customer Innovation, Global Banking And Financial Markets, BT Group plc [LON: BT.A]

As high-profile advances in artificial intelligence from Amazon’s Alexa to Google’s self-driving cars demonstrate, there are obvious benefits to be gained from the increased use of AI. However, it is the combination of AI and humans working together which holds the greatest potential for the retail banking and payments industry.

Current Technology And The Value Of Humans

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is one form of AI that has seen considerable advancement. AI excels at those tasks, which are routine and repetitive enabling humans to focus on the more complex tasks with the added benefit of raising their skill levels. A good example of applied AI is chatbots, which are often used in dialog systems for various practical purposes such as information acquisition.

"In my opinion, it is the combination of humans and AI that will deliver the biggest benefits to customers"

Despite the proliferation in the use of technology, a recent report by McKinsey estimates only 5 percent of jobs are expected to be automated over the coming ten years. A hurdle for AI is its ability to understand human emotions and questions, which require a more thought-out response. A winning strategy combines AI and humans and at BT all chatbots are constantly monitored by humans, who can step in at any time to approve the AI’s responses, or to address more complex questions.

Bright, efficient, and creative – humans hold the attributes that are key to the success of this industry within the UK. Humans, unlike AI, are not limited by programming and therefore can think outside of the box, producing innovative solutions to complex problems.

Future Innovation And Other Opportunities For AI

AI can play a crucial role within the retail banking and payments industry, by helping to improve the experience of consumers. In the near future, AI will be able to provide clearer financial information and guidance to the wider public, with increased financial literacy about products such as credit cards and APRs as well as utilizing virtual reality storyboards to explain complicated transactions and mortgage agreements.

The crucial level of security surrounding personal banking and payment systems will be greatly enhanced with the application of AI. Multiple banks have already begun to implement voice recognition to access account information and in conjunction with facial recognition, we could soon witness the authorization of simple transactions following completion of these security checks.

The ability to detect fraud will also become easier as AI excels in recognizing the inconsistencies or inaccuracies in payment information across a large volume of data. Once detected, AI can aid in the reporting of fraud and blocking of cards in a matter of seconds, shortening the response time and helping customers, particularly those travelling abroad, avoid a lengthy discovery and reporting process.

These developments within AI are moving at an incredible pace and we are only in the early stages of our journey in understanding its true capabilities. Although, what is already clear is that AI will play an ever-increasing role within the retail banking and payments industry, helping customers make the most of the services offered by financial institutions. In my opinion, it is the combination of humans and AI that will deliver the biggest benefits to customers.

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