BUSINESS Spotlight on artificial intelligence: Financial services

BUSINESS

Spotlight on artificial intelligence: Financial services

People's Daily app

00:45, February 07, 2018

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Thanks to the rapid development of artificial intelligence (AI), customer services are getting smarter in the financial industry.

Facial recognition systems can expedite setting up a bank account, speeding up the process to a mere three minutes.

AI can also be used to answer frequently asked questions. In apps such as Alipay and JD.com, users now get their questions answered by AI-supported bots. Some of them can answer voice commands.

Alipay’s customer service platform can respond to five rounds of questions within about one second, which is 30 to 60 times more efficient than a human-based workforce. The platform covers 2 to 3 million users’ calls each day, according to testing data.

Financial services more personalized

By 2020, the value of banking services that use AI in China will reach 5.22 trillion yuan ($831.5 billion), according to research company Analysys International.

In China, AI has been applied in various fields in financial services, including preventing fraud, merchant marketing, modeling lending risks, AI investment consulting, and automobile insurance image uploading.

The banking industry is also leveraging AI to transform traditional credit processes and financial models.

One question when considering AI is what kind of technology application could be regarded as truly “intelligent.”

Business insiders pointed out that the typical situation when using computers is to have a designer decide on the application and let a relatively static model complete the task. An AI system, on the other hand, is similar to human brain, capable of thinking, learning and decision making. With deep learning based on big data, the system can make rational decisions and plan, reason and self-optimize.

When AI is applied in financial services, industry service efficiency is greatly improved through data mining and reduction in services costs. As a result, barriers to enter the finance industry are lowered, a change that could unleash new potential in core competition.

Yang Qiang, vice president of the Chinese AI Society (CAAI), told the People’s Daily on Monday that AI’s introduction in financial services has created more opportunities to provide personalized services, expanding the industry’s capabilities.

Services that provide the streams of big data that serve as the foundation for many AI applications are in increasing demand. In five years, more financial institutions will collaborate on algorithms, sharing data, and the development of innovative technologies.

Internet giants have already initiated their collaboration in shared platforms. JD Finance has provided services in big data, risk control, and marketing for 400 banks, 55 insurance companies and 100 fund companies, covering 150 million users.

Since Ant Financial, Alibaba's digital payments offshoot, has offered its intelligent financial advisor to financial institutions, daily average turnover has increased 243 percent month-on-month, and average daily orders have increased by 190 percent.

AI is not perfect

Machine learning is based on the data you provide, but in extreme scenarios, this data may be insufficient or no longer relevant, Ren Ran, vice president of Decision Sciences, was quoted as saying at an interview with People’s Daily.

In such unstable cases, letting the AI model work without interruption may lead to problems, and manual intervention is necessary to replace the data or adjust the model, Ran said.

(Compiled by Dong Feng)

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