Artificial intelligence expected to open new financial frontiers

Ninety per cent of bankers in China say AI will revolutionize customer relations

Most Chinese bankers believe artificial intelligence will create a “more human-like customer experience,” according to a survey by business consulting firm Accenture | CNStock/Shutterstock

Artificial intelligence (AI) is expected to deliver sweeping improvements in the way banks across China serve their customers by the end of this decade, according to new research from Accenture.

That would include creating an environment for customers that is more “human,” beyond what current online avatars and messaging bots do.

“China’s consumers are ready for AI,” Albert Chan, a managing director at Accenture and head of its financial services practice in China, said March 29.

The global professional services company’s latest Banking Technology Vision report, which surveyed more than 600 bankers in 31 countries, found 90% of bankers in China said AI will revolutionize the way these financial institutions gather information and interact with customers.

In addition, 83% believed that AI will “help banks create a more human-like customer experience” and another 83% said banks will deploy AI as their primary method for interacting with customers within three years.

While AI has long been used by banks to make heavily manual processes more efficient, the Accenture survey highlights the next stage of AI adoption to help banks understand the intentions and emotions of customers, and enable better interactions.

Chan predicted a range of “AI-enabled tools will help banks interact with customers quickly and effectively, with deep-dive personal advice.”

Improvements in AI over the past 15 to 20 years have been driven predominantly by the growth in data available for learning and the processing power required to analyze that data, and infer from this learning, according to Bernstein Research.

The Accenture survey found 86% of bankers in China agree organizations that tap into what motivates human behaviour and tailor their interactions with customers accordingly will be the next industry leaders. But 57% of respondents said industry regulators have not kept pace with advances in technology.

“What lies ahead for banks ... is in many ways, a blank page,” said Steve Pemberton, Accenture’s head of banking for Asia Pacific.

The global market for AI is forecast to reach more than US$47 billion by 2020, according to research firm IDC. 

Read the original article on the South China Morning Post.