Banks are Embracing Artificial Intelligence — is That Really a Bad Thing?

Chances are you’re at least vaguely familiar with the storyline from the popular Terminator films. You know, how the Skynet artificial intelligence program becomes self-aware, infects computer servers and calls upon terminators to defend itself from the human race. It’s arguably the most well-known example of artificial intelligence (AI) gone bad.

A more recent example is the plot of the hit HBO series “Westworld,” where the robot theme park hosts eventually become self-aware, and then plot a course to escape from their fictional environment to live in the real world – taking down any human or park guest that stands in their way.

Those are a few examples of AI gone awry, and they’re perhaps more topical than ever thanks to the rising integration of AI in many business environments, like banking. In fact, most of the big banks have implemented AI into their operations at some level, and many more are expected to follow in the years to come. But the future of AI in banking isn’t doom and gloom. No, instead it’s being mostly embraced – by both consumers and bank employees.

AI In Banking

So, how is AI utilized in banking? Today, it’s mostly involved with managing money.

Yes, AI largely consists of computer programs that serve certain roles that formerly relied on a human to perform. These include things such as speech recognition, language translations, image recognition and even decision making. J.P. Morgan Chase was the latest to make the biggest splash when it comes to AI when it recently announced that it was going to implement an AI assistant in its treasury branch. The company says this assistant will be tasked with handling some $5 trillion every day.

“FinTech” stands for “financial technology,” and it’s another term to get familiar with. Specifically, it’s a new field that’s designed to use advanced technology to improve banking services. And it’s booming, especially when it comes to money management.

Is AI A Win-Win?

Part of the reason why AI is being embraced by bank employees and financial advisors is because it’s not putting them out of a job. No, instead it’s helping them perform their jobs more accurately and more efficiently. By design, an advisor’s role is to guide their customers in making financial decisions. But up until now, this was a cumbersome process that also involved analyzing trends, portfolios and a variety of other factors. Today, AI enables advisors to better guide their clients, while spending less time on the parts of the job that used to bog them down.

Others report that AI has been an essential partner in helping to calculate risk, in trading and in rebalancing. Bank workers have indicated that they do believe that AI will change how they perform their jobs – but not necessarily in a bad way. It’s a big part of the reason why more and more banks are making an effort to integrate such intelligent technologies into their everyday operations. On the same note, about 75 percent of all banking employees recently polled in a “Future Workforce” survey by Accenture stated that they believe AI in the workplace will create new opportunities for them. About 72 percent of respondents said that they believe AI will make their jobs easier. Less than 40 percent indicated that they feel threatened by AI.

What’s more is that consumers tend to favor AI if it can streamline banking operations and assist them in making difficult financial decisions. After all, if AI can create new opportunities for those in the financial industry, it’s the consumer that’s going to reap the benefits of such.

See, AI doesn’t have to be something that’s dramatized to the extreme in science fiction movies and television shows. If you give it a chance, it can be something that can be very helpful to organizations and consumers. The financial industry is already taking advantage of some of these benefits, and it’s showing no sign of slowing down anytime soon. Are you all in on artificial intelligence?


Ethan Warrick
Wealth Authority