Artificial intelligence (AI) is bringing big changes to the financial services industry—changes that will improve the user experience for consumers and drive big wins for the enterprise.

Despite skepticism that artificial intelligence (AI) is just another technology buzzword, its momentum is very real. Of the 5,400 business and IT executives we surveyed across 31 countries for our Technology Vision 2017 report, 85 percent of respondents reported that they will invest extensively in AI-related technologies over the next three years.

85 percent of executives surveyed report they will be investing extensively in AI-related technologies over the next three years.

AI makes interactions more natural and simpler

It’s not a fluke that AI is growing so pervasively. Its reach reflects the value it brings to interactions, making each one simpler and more natural. Advances in natural language processing and machine learning, for example, make technology more intuitive to use, like telling virtual assistants to schedule a meeting instead of manually using scheduling software to find a time, create an event and type in the details.

AI is transforming the look and feel of the enterprise software industry too, with headlines for AI acquisitions and new offerings appearing every day—from Salesforce Einstein, to Microsoft Azure Cognitive Services, to the Google Cloud Platform.

Natural interactions are displacing traditional ones 

Key to all these offerings is how natural interactions are displacing traditional ones. In search technology, voice searches skyrocketed in 2015 from “statistical zero” to more than 10 percent of global searches. Just a year later, Bing reported that 25 percent of Windows 10 taskbar searches  were made via voice, with Google announcing similar numbers (20 percent) for mobile Android searches in the United States. And Stanford researchers recently showed that voice recognition completes searches three times faster than typing on a mobile device, increasing accuracy as well.

With its ease of use and performance outpacing traditional interfaces, AI is setting new expectations for how future interactions will work.

Core AI technologies are available for free

Further accelerating AI’s adoption is the fact that many of the core technologies are available for free. Open source AI tools have proliferated over recent years, from Google’s TensorFlow to Intel’s Trusted Analytics Platform. Another example is Caffe, a deep learning framework developed at the University of California, Berkeley. Caffe has been used:

  • As the basis of the DeepDream project Google released in 2016 to show how their artificial neural networks viewed images.
  • By Pinterest’s app in training steps that help power their Related Pins functionality, which is based on both individual curation and rankings from convolutional neural networks.

AI is bringing big changes to financial services

This combination of intuitive, natural interactions and the ready availability of open source tools is paving the way for big changes across the interface for financial services organizations.

In the auto insurance industry, for example, adjusters use Tractable’s deep learning systems to streamline the triage process after a car accident. Instead of manually scanning pictures, they use machine-trained estimates for repair costs. This use of AI enables agents to decrease processing times and better facilitate repair, salvage or appraisal.

And in oil and gas, vendors of one of the world’s largest oilfield services companies seek online help from IPsoft’s Amelia cognitive agent. Amelia provides freedom to chat when convenient and reduces the need to wait for live customer service agents to be available.

As the way people interact with technology becomes a primary point of competition and distinction, financial services organizations face a new imperative to add AI to enhance critical customer interactions.

In my next post I’ll explore the platform trend and how platforms can help financial services companies forge new value chains.

Download the Technology for People: The Era of the Intelligent Enterprise report.


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