How AI is changing the way we do business

Simon Cadbury summarizes the key use cases and benefits of artificial intelligence for the motor finance sector.

According to Wikipedia, the term ‘artificial intelligence’ (AI) stems back to 1956, when the first field of research was set up at Dartmouth College. While others argue that, given automatons (realistic, moving and human-like puppets) were first seen by the Ancient Egyptians, AI is far from new. So why is AI, all of a sudden, considered one of the hottest topics in technology?

Some would argue that it’s down to a technological breakthrough in, first, the level of data we can capture and organize, combined with, second, the ability to create recommendations, decisions or predictions based on this data (a phenomenon known as ‘deep learning’). This has resulted in the opportunity migrating from an academic subject to one with real-world opportunities.

Kai-Fu Lee, former president of Google China, describes the application of AI in four waves:

  1. Internet: Use of AI to deepen customer understanding – powered by better data collection.
  2. Business: Use of AI to guide and recommend – using algorithms on proprietary data sets to improve decision making.
  3. Perception: Use of AI to enable the ‘sensor economy’ via speech interfaces (Alex, Siri and other smart assistants), and computer vision applications (eg face recognition).
  4. Autonomous: Use of AI to enable machines to respond to the world around them (eg autonomous vehicles).

The use cases and benefits of these within financial services are wide-ranging; something I explored at The Digital Banking Club – Motor Finance 2018. While the implications (whether it be job displacement, questions over security, privacy or data bias, or the further advantage it gives tech giants) are unknown and hard to quantify. Having said that, it’s widely touted that AI will herald a ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’, and one that will arrive and pass far more quickly than those of the past.

It is for this reason that it’s incumbent on us to understand the benefits, impact and challenges of AI.

Further discussion …

As mentioned above, ieDigital hosted a live debate on AI on 29 November 2018, at The Law Society in London. We started the debate with the following broad question: To what extent will AI technology improve the motor finance proposition?

The question was put to our expert panel made up of motor finance experts and technology experts. It included Benjamin Ensor (Forrester), Ken Doyle (Specialist Motor Finance), Simon Bayley (Moneybarn) and Chris Howlin (Aire). You can find out how it went on our special event page. For those eager to see the results of our audience feedback (courtesy of Slido), see the video below.

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