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  • @fintechna 3:35 pm on September 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Augmenting, , , , ,   


    These are exactly the sort of words that would make you launch your phone into the nearest river, if they had been uttered by Siri. Fortunately, they are the fictional words of HAL 9000, the sentient system in the 1968 Stanley Kubrick film, A Space Odyssey: 2001. It told the story of a mission to Jupiter and the gradual realisation of the crew that the perfect piece of AI designed to help them, was in fact fallible, and plotting against them to preserve its existence.

    We don’t appear to have come much further in our collective sentiment towards trusting AI. The term “killer robots” has been splashed across the press headlines quite a bit recently, with some heavyweight names behind them, highlighting the potential dangers of using AI in warfare. Some of these warnings around the ethical usage of AI are undoubtedly justified. How do you prevent AI from learning bad characteristics as well as good? It doesn’t necessarily need to be as dramatic as the use of AI in war. It could be as simple as AI learning some of the sadly still intrinsic bias in society, such as that boys wear blue and girls wear pink. The stock archive this technology is likely to learn from has been written by humans. And humans have prejudices, fears, and ideas that they want to promote. AI may not be able to help learning some of these, and apportioning blame to the technology would be a mistake, but they could still have an impact on the service provided to us.

    Ethical issues aside, nervousness around AI in the workplace is much closer to home, and again in many ways, there is justification for some jitters from employees. Technology has a history of replacing humans in the —and the initial stages of this can be painful. Printing presses, weaving machines, mechanised farming, automated production lines, to name a few that have disrupted the workforce across industries. AI in banking could undoubtedly do the same if deployed without a long-term, sustainable plan from .

    In our upcoming series of reports on AI in financial services, Accenture looks at the potential advantages and pitfalls of embracing AI in banking, capital markets and insurance.

    “People x Process x Data = AI” is our view on the success of AI in the workplace. The process and data side we will come back to another time—but an equally important part of AI are the “people” that this technology will work alongside. Many have years of experience, most of which will not be written down for an AI colleague to pick up and assimilate into its own bank of knowledge. The importance of people is particularly significant in banking, where interaction between the bank and customer is still of vital importance to most, and must become a priority. Fifty-three percent of customers still go into their branch once a month or more. Customers like and want the reassurance of being able to speak to a person.

    That is not to say that many would not be happy with a “phygital” blend of interaction with their bank. But if this is to be a success, then the workforce needs to be ready and able to use this technology. And with 30 percent of banking executives unsure that their current workforce has the necessary skills and experience to use AI technology to its optimum, there is cause for concern that the rollout of this technology could pose a problem for banks.

    For it to be a success, a fully detailed proof of concept should be in place, with an inventory of the workforce skillset being of primary importance, before any decisions are made on how and where to use AI. Easier said than done? It needn’t be. Some simple “best practice” steps should help this along. To name a few:

    • Involving the workforce in decision-making and investigations into how and where AI could help them in their roles would go a long way towards easing any transition of jobs
    • Providing training to understand what the technology involves, and showing its limitations as well as its advantages
    • Showing how AI could take away some of the more repetitive and frustrating parts of a function, leaving the employee to do the more interesting parts of their role, and take part in more creative and stimulating work
    • Introducing roles that will make use of AI to create value within the business, and which need some human imagination to create. The lack of differentiation in products has long been lamented by customers. Using AI to simulate how a new product might work for a bank, in a fail-fast, low-risk environment, has its obvious advantages

    Maybe the ethics of using AI is less around whether there is a risk it will learn our worst traits, and more around what our intentions are from using it. If it is just to slash the costs of the workforce, then employers are missing a trick, and could find themselves on the receiving end of public and regulatory disapproval. Their employees have something AI cannot learn: empathy and understanding of human nature. Both of which are vital in a customer-facing service, and which in its current format AI cannot provide on its own, meaning a combined AI/human workforce is necessary to get the best from this technology. The future is bright; the future is still human.


    The post ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: AUGMENTING THE HUMAN WORKFORCE appeared first on Accenture Banking Blog.

    Accenture Banking Blog

  • @fintechna 4:54 am on May 31, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Augmenting, ,   

    Augmenting Me 


    I have spent time lately exploring Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Assistants (VA) & Chatbots and how these can be used within a bank &; after all I invest in so this revelation should not shock anyone. The purpose of this post is not share my findings on these discoveries, what works, what does not, what a bank should do, what hot trends I believe in and which startups I am interested in backing. Rather, my purpose is to share my personal views on how I would like &;&; to augment me. Note that I refrain from writing &8220;how I would like AI to augment me&8221; as I am unsure if AI is the right term for what I am seeking.

    I do not differ from the majority of my fellow human beings in as much as I want to be better. A better husband, a better father, a better friend, a better co-worker, a better investor and a better expert at what I do daily. I meditate, I exercise empathy, I exercise physically, i exercise humility AND I exercise my brain. I think and I think about becoming a smarter and sharper thinker.

    So far I have seen AI applications and startups focused on:

    &8211; Automating repetitive tasks

    &8211; Automating simple tasks

    &8211; Helping with making expert decisions

    &8211; Removing human biases

    &8211; Navigating through mountains of data

    The benefits, actual or promised are obvious. AI will free us from mundane tasks so we can focus on higher value thinking, will eliminate our human weaknesses, will point us to the right decisions, will shorten the time to right actions. Cheaper, faster, to the point. Why am I not completely satisfied? Maybe because I sense a &8220;dehumanizing&8221; threat lurking behind the promise of AI. After all, I could end up ceding some of the tasks I currently perform to an automaton, stop thinking about certain tasks and analytical processes because another automaton will give me the answer faster and end up relying on various algorithms without exercising any critical thinking &8211; and critical thinking is my most precious asset!

    I spend most of my time reading and listening what others write and say and scrutinizing what they do. I thrive on induction and deduction, cross referencing, linking, making inferences, aggregating, sorting and ultimately decisioning. The more data I digest the better. The faster and more accurate I am at linking various data points intelligently and decisioning thereafter the better. Freeing 20% of my time from my daily schedule via the use of a VA or another 20% of my time with the use of an expert system is not going to move the needle materially. Actually I view these as potential linear changes. I will be able to do more of the same during the week. Big deal, so what.

    To date I have evolved several techniques to manage and push myself. I take breaks when I feel fatigue lurking. I play games or perform mental gymnastics when I want my brain to work in different ways (mostly chess, educational & training apps), i alternate between reading blog posts, tweets, lengthy articles, books (e-books and real books), i alternate between subject matters, i alternate between writing on a piece of paper and typing on my computer, i doodle (i wish i knew how to draw), I label and save data for future reading or re-use, I consume media during downtime (music, movies), I continuously doubt and double check myself&; All of these I have developed over time. Still I believe I have scratched the surface and that my &8220;tools&8221; are far from perfect &8211; I make mistakes, I forget, I contradict myself.

    What I am looking for is technology that a) trains my mind to process data faster over longer periods of time while minimizing productivity losses due to fatigue, b) helps identify my blind spots and allows me to mitigate them over time, c) identifies the best way for me to digest data in the right way at the right time, d) helps me recognize my biases, and e) helps me become more creative and innovative in my thinking. I believe the technology or set of technologies that will help me achieve these goals will accelerate my thinking more than linearly.

    Rather than interpreting AI and robotics as a Man vs Machine contest &8211; and by that I mean where a machine or algorithm abstracts certain tasks and alienates them from me &8211; or as a Man fusing with Machine end goal &8211; man as cyborg frightens me and i do not believe in singularity &8211;  I am much more interested in a Man and Machine narrative where I get augmented by a &8220;cognitive&8221; machine.

    Would it not be amazing if my personal VA would alert me to the bias I just exercised when analyzing a data set, would present me data in different formats to stave off brain fatigue or optimize my learning based on what it knows about how my brain works and my current physiological state, would present me with potential inferences and linkages from the past and the present so that I could more easily make further linkages and inferences on top of previous ones, would exercise my brain to better recognize conscious and subconscious signals, present me with the right data in the right context for major ha-ha moments &8211; as opposed to triggering a consumerist stimuli or a mere call to action &8211; would learn with me and adapt to my progress, would provide me insights on how I arrived at past insights and innovative moments or decisions and finally would be designed in a way that I would trust it and therefore allow myself to collaborate with it and learn from it &8211; i think both form and function are important here.

    Absent a deep knowledge of the current state of cognitive computing and AI, I assume the above is a science fiction wish list. I realize my yearnings are a far cry from the explicit state of AI I see embodied in the various tech platforms startups are bringing to market. My view is that most of the approaches I have been exposed to are very mechanistic &8211; a natural state due to the limits of technology and knowledge of the human brain I gather. I wonder if the technology behind Viv is a step towards this wish list.

    I remember dreaming in 1997 about a device that would allow me to do everything a computer, a cell phone, an encyclopedia, a notebook, a canvas & paintbrush, a camera, a tv and a movie theater could do. Clearly, I was not impressed by the Palm Pilot then. It took 10 years for me to see this dream materialize with the introduction of the first iPhone in 2007 and another 9 years to see it refined til now. I wonder how long it will take for us to graduate from the elementary AI platforms of today to ones that will truly augment us. Even though the rate of technology advance is accelerating I wonder if the next exponential leaps will occur at a relatively slow pace due to the infinite complexity of the brain.


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