Article from PYMNTS.com eBook REPORT: 22 Payments Execs Get Real About AI

By Drew Edwards, CEO at Ingo Money

For decades, experts have placed predictions around artificial intelligence and machine learning – both in terms of the ability to enhance human productivity, and the potential threat to human independence. Recently, Oxford and Yale University conducted a survey among 350 A.I. researchers, and the results show they predict machines will be superior to humans at writing high school essays by 2026, driving a truck by 2027, and conducting surgery by 2053. Clearly, a number of industries are seeing the impact of A.I. – from healthcare and medicine, to education, e-commerce and financial services. Business leaders around the world are constantly seeking new ways to leverage this tool in search of a competitive advantage. But let’s be clear – despite the buzz surrounding A.I., it is simply a tool.

Over the last several years, we’ve seen financial services and payments companies deploy A.I. and machine learning to various parts of the ecosystem, including risk management, fraud detection, trading and personalized customer experiences in banking. But the companies who are most efficiently and effectively capitalizing on the tool, are the ones who are laser-focused on the interaction between these technologies and their human capital. It is at this intersection of artificial intelligence and human intervention where the customer and employee experience is maximized.

At Ingo Money, we provide instant money as a service to companies and consumers, enabling the movement of guaranteed, instant, and safe-to-spend funds from any source to any destination. Processing roughly $4B in gross dollar volume annually requires that risk management be core to our operation. Like any payments company, Ingo is in the risk management business because this is core to money movement.

And when your business is about getting people their money fast, great risk management is also critical to delivering great customer experiences. What we’ve discovered is that A.I. is especially useful for culling out the easy stuff and freeing our human capital to focus on the hard stuff. The more lower risk transactions our people can ignore, the more time they have to combat the truly bad actors, such as organized fraud, and create those great customer experiences for our clients.

By investing in A.I. we’ve been able to grow our business 4x without the need to grow our call centers. It’s technologies like this that are critical to offering speed and accuracy at scale and at competitive price points. Going forward, we see other areas of our business beyond risk where this technology can be leveraged. An example is with customer service, where without A.I., we’d sift through 10 bad actors trying to scam us for every legitimate customer that needs attention. Applying A.I. in this area would allow us to “cull out the bad actors” and focus on those customers that truly need our attention.

While interpretable machine learning is still an emerging field, we will continue looking for new and innovative applications for artificial intelligence to help scale our business. However, our belief is that A.I. can never fully replace the human aspect of what we do. Instead of viewing it as the silver bullet, we’ll continue to expand our approach regarding how our people can interact and optimize this tool within our organization. Said another way, we don’t see A.I. replacing our human capital, we see it making them more effective.