Wells Digital Guru Talks Innovation Groups, AI, and Banking’s ‘Uber’ Moment — Page 2

  • Grace Noto
  • March 5, 2017
  • 0

What are some of the technologies you are focusing on?

Really figuring out the best places to use AI, and working on experiments—some of that involves looking in new things, like other ways of being mobile, like wearables, that kind of thing.

So, where are the right places that we can be most helpful to people using alternative methods to things we’ve already done: looking at things like voice, where is it most helpful for someone to do something with a voice interface rather than use their hands or type.

What is most exciting for you regarding the implications of artificial intelligence technology in consumer banking?

I think it’s really exciting to think about getting that right combination—just because we’re looking at and experimenting with AI, we’re not thinking that does away with personal touch or people.

By providing more options for people to get richer information, I think, thinking about the possibility of AI enabling something that feels more like a conversation; as opposed to the old model. If we can help people make it feel like it’s more like a person, use the smarts that are more than a person, drawing from a database of information and being able to give relevant, timely information in a format that’s really comfortable and easy, I think that’s really exciting.

What is the biggest hurdle in getting artificial intelligence to be that easy?

Choosing the right places to focus.

We, early on, starting using it associated with fraud, but we’ve looked at lots of different places we could focus. I think identifying the right opportunities, testing early and often with customers, and testing in an observational way and not in a focus-group kind of way—especially if you’re thinking of trying out things that people haven’t tried yet or don’t exist.

The reality is when you watch what people do it’s different than what they say, so trying things out, actually watching people use the things as we’re developing them and starting with early conceptual testing.

Has banking experienced an ‘Uber’ moment—something that had such a huge impact on the industry that, going back, it’s sort of an irrevocable change?

I would just say that I’ve seen so many moments like that in my lifetime.

When I was going to college in 1983 it was a big deal to get an ATM card; it was such a big deal just to get the card—the ATM was a huge thing. So, to me, that was a moment where I can’t imagine ever going back.

Online banking was another, where once I started doing that I thought I would never go back to the old way. It was all really different, bill-paying was a major event once a month when I was a child, and we would help my mother, stamping things, preparing all the envelopes, there was so much paper.

I’m sorry, but Uber feels kind of small, compared to the profound change in how money is handled, how we can send it internationally, instantly, I think that’s a bigger deal.

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