Are robots coming to a credit union near you?

Technology like artificial intelligence sounds futuristic, but changes in technology move a lot faster than it seems. ATMs took 18 years to become ubiquitous. Nothing moves as quickly as it feels, but when you look back it seems like it just happened overnight. We still hear that mobile is the future, but really mobile is today – there are more mobile phones on this planet (7.19 billion) than there are humans. It won’t be long before artificial intelligence is integrated in our lives. This was the topic of a presentation by VISA Global Head of Innovation & Strategic Partnerships Jim McCarthy at CSCU’s annual conference. Jim described an example that’s already in place today – Blackrock, the world’s largest equities asset manager, is replacing human stock pickers with artificial intelligence. Robots are now managing mutual funds.

What’s driving the need for machines to do our thinking for us? The sheer volume of data that is being created each day. Smartphone cameras and voice input is producing gigabytes of unstructured data (meaning non-text-based data that is nearly impossible to find by typing in a google search box), and this data has been growing my leaps and bounds over the past few years. Humans can’t keep with the amount of data being generated on a daily basis, but machines have the raw computation power to ability to make prediction.

McCarthy gave the example where Visa is working with elevator manufacturer Kone to detect passengers using biometrics (when the passenger presses the floor button) or via facial recognition, and combining with purchasing profile data to instantly serve up ads on monitors in the elevator that are relevant to the passenger(s).

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