When looking at organizations that are currently leading in technological innovation across the globe, financial institutions do not automatically come into our thoughts.
Instead, we tend to think about big technology giants such as Alphabet, Apple, and Amazon, which not only take over the innovation conversation but also receive most of the attention.
Nevertheless, with the latest technologies like artificial intelligence becoming a global sensation, even the most traditional companies in the financial space cannot disregard them.
Currently, the biggest banking institutions globally are boosting their AI efforts.
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Capital One (United States)
US-based Capital One has been intensifying its artificial intelligence capabilities by giving ethical AI priority in all its systems.
PhD researcher and the Senior Research Manager on the company’s Conversational AI team Omar Flórez is one of the Latin Americans known to be studying the moral elements of machine learning.
Even though algorithms have the potential to establish massive efficiencies through processing vast piles of data and automation, the technology industry has a discrimination issue since prejudices and blind spots held by engineers are integrated into the technologies they create.
Regardless of whether it is the strengthening of negative cultural stereotypes or racist soap dispensers, AI is still not perfect.
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Even when the software is not programmed to discriminate, it can learn to do so without help.
Such bias can lead to considerable harm to clients, especially for a financial institution.
For instance, consider applying for a home or car loan or even opening a credit line with a system that discriminates against women or minorities.
Making sure that there is diversity in the people being recruited as well as diversity in all the teams is among the ways that the financial industry can defeat such innate tendencies towards discrimination.
For Capital One, this has been a critical focus, particularly when it comes to the creation and deployment of artificial intelligence (AI) across its systems.
With virtually all the technical documents in this new field featuring text written in English, Florez witnessed first-hand the impediments of learning AI as an engineer whose native language is Spanish.
As such, he created a detailed Spanish-English dictionary of artificial intelligence terms.
The dictionary can be accessed on GitHub as an open-source initiative and is freely available for anybody who wants to add more terms or use it to understand the field better.
Thanks to Florez, Spanish speakers can use the document to help them comprehend technical terminologies used in an online discussion, book, course or article.
As part of the dedication by Capital One to boost both inclusion and diversity in the technology sector, Florez was in a position to augment his efforts.
Sberbank, the biggest financial institution in Russia, is not new to artificial intelligence (AI).
In the past, the financial institution has conducted competitions aimed at promoting innovation in the field.
Back in 2018, the Russian-based bank held its “Classic AI Competition”, which included invested teams from all over the nation.
The teams competed in using artificial intelligence (AI) to come up with a poem in resemblance to a given author.
Recently, the bank completed a Demo-Day event held in Moscow, which included the exhibition of some of the leading artificial intelligence (AI) innovations in Russia.
The event displayed startup companies from Sberbank and the 500 Startups accelerator initiative and ended with seven finalist teams that are expected to enter the 500 Startups’ San Francisco-based Startup Launch Program.
Away from the finalists, the Russian bank is anticipated to carry on with its partnership with all the 30 teams that contested in the accelerator group with a mission of not only assisting them to grow but also potentially including them in the institution’s ecosystem.
The recent event was different from the last 500 startup groups since it represented the first time that a Russian-based company had collaborated with the accelerator.
The event finalists included Heartex, an initiative that uses AI in creating tools for labeling massive data sets and Mishka AI, an innovative soft toy that integrates AI in a bid to produce children –based content, and an exhilarating healthcare artificial intelligence play that is currently using neural networks and AI for the medical imaging space.
Similar to Capital One and other numerous American banking institutions, Sberbank is currently expanding into fields that were previously not explored by banking institutions.
Sberbank’s President Herman Gref said: “Sberbank is a 177-year-old company, and it is not simple for us to reinvent ourselves. However, finding ways to continuously reinvent our business is necessary to remain competitive to new innovations coming to market. We are proud to partner with 500 startups and support the innovations their companies bring to market.”
Bank Hapoalim (Israel)
This is the most prominent financial institution in all of Israel.
For some time now, the institution has been participating in partnerships with artificial intelligence (AI) teams and investment opportunities selectively for both business operations and financial opportunities.
In last summer, Bank Hapoalim took part in a $30 million-plus financing round for ThetaRay, which is a cybersecurity solution provider that uses AI in assisting financial companies in detecting fraud among other problems encountered in banking practices.
The chief executive officer of ThetaRay Mark Gazit said that “In this era when criminal activity and money laundering are increasing and becoming more sophisticated and regulation is on the rise, there is greater demand for our solutions. As the amount of digital information grows, you just can’t protect it without artificial intelligence systems.”
Hapoalim has also collaborated with another AI-based startup dubbed AnyVision to deliver a real-world artificial intelligence (AI) use-case for its customers
Haim Pinto, the chief technology officer of the bank, said: “Today we are witnessing the dawn of the AI revolution; we arrived here thanks to the evolution of software languages, innovation in storage technology and processing power. Combining this with new advances in mathematics means we are at the point where Artificial Intelligence and neural networks can support clients while they make daily decisions about how to spend or save their money.