Have you ever conversed with a machine? Would you know if you had? Artificial Intelligence is one of those big research and development areas in banking innovation. You might be more familiar with chatbots, or text boxes that pop-up on various sites asking if you need assistance. Is it really a person on the other end, or is it just a computer? The likelihood is a computer.

 Artificial Intelligence: I Am Talking to Whom?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) holds great promise for many sectors, including banking. It is promoted as a tool that can “improve the customer experience”. From my perspective this is a conundrum; my best and worst experiences as a customer have involved people. A real person can go a long way to not just solve a problem, but help the customer feel really good about the company based on the resolution and how it was resolved.

 Artificial Intelligence: I Am Talking to Whom?

Obviously the opposite can be true. Can a machine do that? I will never say “no” as I am so impressed with what is being accomplished each day with technology.

All the major banks are working on AI projects. The regional and smaller banks will benefit from other companies willing to provide the services in which AI is required. We are experiencing AI each day, but we suddenly saw an uptick in the number of articles and announcements by banks in the area of AI research and development. This can be really cool! We are already speaking to our phones and those phones get us answers. We talk to a chatbot that simulates a person, and they get us answers and make recommendations. We are beginning to live in the Star Trek era, at least with our gadgets (not the space travel – yet). In other, unobservable ways, we are benefiting from AI as it is deployed in fraud protection.

As always, when I write these blogs, I ask you: what are you doing to enable greater use of technology in your organization? Are you prepared to operate more efficiently, to do more with less and improve the organization you work for, and the taxpayers or tuition payers that support it? Technology changes are coming at us rapidly. On the one extreme you can use the excuse of wait and see, which simply means we do things the same way we always have. The other extreme is trying to adopt every new thing that comes along, throwing good money at fun ideas. In the middle is a steady, yet flexible plan that systematically keeps you moving forward rather than falling generations behind or spending funds on the quick fad, gone tomorrow services. Regardless, one thing is for sure – how you bank today will not be how you bank tomorrow.

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