Harnessing the power of Generative AI for financial institutions: potential risks and rewards

By Chad Hetherington, VP Head of Product, NICE Actimize


Recent research conducted by McKinsey revealed that generative AI has the potential to contribute a substantial economic value, ranging from $2.6 trillion to $4.4 trillion annually (analysed across a diverse set of 63 use cases). To put this in perspective, these figures exceed the entire GDP of the UK for 2021, which amounted to $3.1 trillion. This surge could increase the overall impact of artificial intelligence by a significant 15% to 40%. This estimate might even double if we consider integrating generative AI into software presently utilised for tasks beyond the initially identified use cases.

The rapid and ever-evolving pace of Generative AI development necessitates a cautious and thoughtful approach to ensure the safeguarding of both businesses and consumers, while simultaneously harnessing the technology’s full potential. This delicate balance is imperative.

During our ENGAGE 2023(https://www.niceactimize.com/engage/index.html) customer conference held recently, attended by more than 600 financial institutions, the prevailing trend of Generative AI was a focal point. Our informational sessions featured in-depth discussions surrounding the risks and rewards associated with this technology. Various potential use cases were explored, with a focus on how Generative AI could enhance productivity across different operational functions within banks.

Here is what we concluded.  When the personal computer revolution occurred, increased productivity through efficiency was the key win. Just as PCs did not replace humans, Generative AI will not replace human touch. The human role remains indispensable in implementing Generative AI technologies, as human expertise unlocks GenAI potential via well-constructed prompts. Humans will continue to be instrumental in initiating innovation and shaping its outcome. While certain roles may transition to AI, expertise in these domains will remain essential, leading to the emergence of new roles. Crucially, we’ve recommended that financial institutions establish robust controls and guidelines around Generative AI implementation, requiring human thought and expertise to create and monitor these controls in the future.

Chad Hetherington

Interactions with customers have underscored the significance of adopting Generative AI in ways that genuinely enhance performance across businesses, rather than for the mere sake of adoption. At NICE Actimize, our commitment lies in integrating Generative AI into our product portfolio responsibly, safeguarding the interests of both financial institutions and their customers. Our approach focuses on addressing specific pain points within financial services through the utilisation of data and domain expertise.

While Engineering and Data Science teams have been swift in embracing this technology, other sectors within firms have yet to explore innovative use cases to a degree they can and should be. When strategizing solutions for business challenges, a holistic perspective is needed to comprehend how Generative AI can revolutionise execution and outcomes across an entire firm. While low-hanging fruit should be swiftly exploited, larger projects should also be initiated promptly to achieve significant, meaningful impact.

Some examples of exemplar Generative AI use cases, pertinent to both financial institutions and beyond, are text-driven support related, such as Generative AI suggested decision pathways. This approach, while necessitating human oversight in certain scenarios, streamlines day-to-day processes significantly. Employees validate AI decisions, enhancing machine learning, instead of being mired in research and decision-making themselves. Instances might include how to fix a software bug or responding to alerts. However, AI has work to do. If a customer has been scammed out of their savings, AI may not always provide human-led compassionate advice. At this point, the human element of growing this technology is key but the technology levels everyone up to reviewer level.

As an industry, we’re still in the process of grasping the potential of generative AI. However, its transformative potential is undeniable due to its capacity for “human-like” reasoning. It stands as a force multiplier, enabling individuals worldwide to become developers, expanding upon the already substantial developer community of 30 million today.

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