Artificial intelligence (AI), the intelligence of machines, is evolving at a rapid pace. As AI-based technologies advance, investment banks and other financial services institutions have much to gain from the transformational insights AI delivers. In this series, I will offer a look at how AI-powered tools can drive new, productive relationships to improve client services and products.

In the past, financial services institutions have placed a heavy premium on human capital. Competing intensely with each other to hire the sharpest minds from the best schools, most companies know the gray matter inherent in their investment strategists is the crux of any industry leader.

But that gray matter is no longer contained solely in human form. As technologies advance, financial services institutions will find that they compete not only for human knowledge and know-how, but the best AI technologies as well.

Opportunity abounds

At Accenture, we view AI as a collection of multiple technologies that allow machines to sense, comprehend and act—and learn—either on their own or to augment human activities. Thanks to the cloud and the nearly unlimited access to computing power it brings, an explosion of AI technologies has been possible in the last few years. We now have the capacity to accommodate an unprecedented amount of data.

AI is key to turning this flood of information into usable insights to better run our businesses and drive growth.

The most significant advances in AI technologies include:

  • Computer vision
  • Audio processing
  • Natural language processing
  • Knowledge representation
  • Machine learning
  • “Expert” systems

Automation is not intelligent automation

In view of rising costs and increased regulatory scrutiny, many capital market companies are looking for creative solutions to help reduce headcount in high-cost functions, or to respond to increased regulation.

Automation is one such solution. However, it is important to remember that automation and AI-enabled automation are not the same. Though companies are automating, the level of intelligence they incorporate into that automation is often still rather minimal.

And while it’s true that simple automation can trim costs and decrease redundant workload for human employees, it cannot provide the advantages of AI, which, with its capacity for self-learning, constantly improves, rather than degrades, in value.

As a client-centric approach seems to become the norm across the board, and as financial services institutions wrestle with a complex regulatory environment that shows no signs of lessening, the competitive edge and agility AI offers could become crucial to their future.

The financial services institutions that resist moving beyond basic automation into the more unfamiliar area of AI might be left behind as the leaders compete at an entirely new level.

In my next post, I will take a closer look at the ways that AI can drive growth beyond simple automation.

Until then, take a look at the Turning Automation into Intelligence report to learn more. I also highly recommend the Why Artificial Intelligence is the Future of Growth report.

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