These were my thoughts as I walked into a conference with limited knowledge in this field of tech. I was invited to represent Girls in Tech Paris at the AI for Finance conference by Startup Inside. As someone with an interest but no educational background in finance but a passion for tech, I was eager to attend the conference and learn how this form of technology is transforming an otherwise old school industry. 

Startup Inside group is a leading ecosystem of experts in Open innovation, AI and Intrapreneurship operating in four countries to help Fortune 500 companies in their digital transformation. They gathers actors of the European Artificial Intelligence ecosystem in Health and Financial sectors by operating the AI for Health & AI for Finance clusters. Startup Inside contributes significantly to projects with positive impact by supporting the AI for Good initiative.

The conference took place at Palais de Brogniart, a fitting venue considering it’s an old stock exchange building. I was happy to see a good ratio (but by no means equal) of women and men attendees. As for speakers, there were significantly more men but a notable amount of women were present as well. The agenda had so many interesting topics that I found myself switching between the two rooms to learn as much as I could about artificial intelligence and its impact on the finance industry.

AI In Finance

The term artificial intelligence has been around for half a century. Yet, only in the past decade has the hardware for computer processing improved to a point where we are beginning to expand the use of these technologies to different industries. Since the finance industry is quantitative in nature and has a large amount of data, it has opened up innovation in this field, especially in machine learning. The application of artificial intelligence in finance is continuously evolving but you can already find AI used in areas like customer relationship management, risk management, fraud prevention and process automation. 

While I sat through each keynote and round table discussion, I noticed a few trends in many of the speakers.

Customer First AI

It’s unquestionable that using AI in Finance is great for customer convenience and ease. Throughout my day, speakers emphasized the importance of putting the customer first while designing and implementing any artificial intelligence in your company. The benefits are many as machine learning can be used to predict customer behaviour, provide personalisation and is available around the clock. But with all those benefits, it’s important that researching and understanding your customers needs drives the design of AI in your company.

Value Added AI

We’ve all heard the fears of AI making many human jobs obsolete but during the conference, this idea was not echoed. Instead, I found that many speakers emphasize AI being put in place to add value to their employees and save them time to attend to more important matters. For example, instead of spending 5 hours reading a 300 page document, machine learning technology can scour the document and present the employee with a summary. This empowers employees to make informed decisions quicker while also freeing up their time to improve customer relationships.   

Ethical AI

In the midst of a digital transformation, it’s normal to be wary of new technologies and the buzzwords that come with it. Especially in the finance industry where incorrect or faulty implementation can have serious consequences. With this in mind, it was reassuring the hear speakers address these concerns and teach the audience ways to ensure AI is ethical in finance. Mainly, to establish trust with customers and employees through transparency, accountability, social responsibility, and reliability.

The Future of AI in Finance

Throughout the day, it was fun to see how the finance industry has adapted to the changing technological climate, and it looks like it’s embracing it with full force. While the finance industry will continue to improve the current AI technologies in place, it also looks towards implementing automated speech recognition and improving the insurance sector.  

Overall, the AI for Finance conference was incredibly informative and well-organized. It was great fintech has being embraced by the corporate world to solve old-school problems. I’d like to thank Startup Inside and Girls in Tech Paris for allowing me to attend and share my experience. I look forward to next year to see how much will change!

By Brittney Lau