The bank already uses AI to sift through millions of data points to aggregate financial tips or alert customers. But as technology becomes more advanced, it hopes to make those interactions more personal, hopefully turning people into more loyal bank customers. It is far from alone in this fight: CBA’s rivals are also investing heavily in systems that can sift through vast amounts of data, with the aim of helping people better manage their money.
Second, CBA showed how artificial intelligence “chatbots” could be used to help call center staff find answers to complex questions faster, rather than digging through banks’ reams of policy documents. The bank is pitching this as a way to improve efficiency in the back office, but the changes raise obvious questions about robots taking white-collar jobs.
When asked directly about the risk of AI robots eventually replacing workers, Comyn emphasized the bank’s focus on customer service. But he also didn’t shy away from the possibility that something significant could be on the horizon.
“We’re mostly centered around how to serve customers and prevent scams and fraud, but I do think the technology that we’ve seen in the last six to nine months has the potential to be quite transformative,” Comyn said.
CBA employs around 7,000 engineers who write the code, and Comyn says now having the software to generate the code presents some “huge opportunities for improvement” for the bank.
NAB’s McEwen also Potential efficiency gains are highlighted From artificial intelligence last week, for example, technology can save employees time by recording their conversations with customers.
But AI clearly also poses risks for banks and large corporations, compared with the potential gains in productivity.
McEwan said last week that his biggest concern was artificial intelligence being used to do “the wrong thing” with customer data, while Comyn also raised concerns, including how the technology could mimic people’s voices.
Given such risks, Comyn said some form of regulation is inevitable and desirable. “I think governments and regulators around the world are thinking about what does this mean? What are the risks, what are the opportunities?” Comyn said.
What is the risk that artificial intelligence becomes so proficient at replacing human workers that it becomes a huge job destroyer?
For years, banks and other large companies have been using “chatbots” — often performing tasks that humans used to perform. The mantra among CEOs, at least so far, is that it frees up employees to focus on other, less routine tasks.
Comyn acknowledged that it was “natural” for people to worry that technology might disrupt jobs, but he didn’t think AI would be “fundamentally disruptive” to people’s jobs anytime soon.
Bank bosses are often keen to tell their investors how they can save money to boost shareholder returns, but so far, none of the big banks have outlined plans to launch a massive cost-cutting program thanks to artificial intelligence.
Indeed, the CBA and NAB have been keen to order their staff back to the office for more of the week, with the CBA saying this week that it wants staff to be in the office 50 per cent of the time.
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