Monday, 22 april 2019 | Redacción CEU
Decades ago, movies promised us an optimized and avant-garde future. In it, artificial intelligences would interact with people as if they were another human being. They would also take care of the most boring tasks, and free us from hard work. Although in some cases the future seemed apocalyptic –largely due to the need to create a narrative tension–, in all these films robots had originally been designed to improve our living conditions. In any case, the script of the story is now in our hands. These futuristic tales have gone beyond the screens. Little by little, robots are beginning to occupy that dream place. Marketing, health or education are disciplines in which bots are starting to "show" their potential. The financial world is no stranger to this change. In particular, banking is betting heavily on chatbots. Their arrival can transform the world of banking relationships forever.
Banking has gotten down to work. The arrival of fintech companies has acted as a spur. Banks do not want to be left behind. They have realized that innovation is their best strategy to compete. Actually, the financial investment in artificial intelligence may amount to 10 billion dollars in 2020. AI promises to be a great ally in prevention and risk analysis, but that is not reason enough to pay less attention to its derived technology: chatbots. They are a new instrument that will help banking connect with its clients in a different way.
According to a survey carried out by Personetics last year, 87% of banks have already implemented chatbot technology or plan to do it in the near future. If this percentage is so high, it is because it meets, to a large extent, the new social demands and expectations. Not only do people have a closer relationship with technology, but they have also changed their behavior patterns and their way of socializing. Younger generations no longer like to go to branch offices to do paperwork. Nor do they feel comfortable when solving a problem through a phone call. Banks have found in electronic banking the solution to this new situation. Virtual assistance seems the logical next step.
The use of chatbots by banks has focused on customer service mainly. Although a priori it may seem that flesh and blood agents will always be more effective in solving doubts, chatbots are usually prepared to answer most user questions. Specialists talk about 90% efficiency. However, these same experts advise to leave a door always open to conventional attention.
These robots can also perform complex tasks such as assistance in financial decision-making. The design of these bots is focused on satisfying the needs that may have very specific and different profiles. This is further proof of the new trend toward hyperpersonalization. Furthermore, the phenomenon of robo-advisors and their success in the fintech world is an example of the potential that chatbots based on this type of services could reach. Likewise, the algorithms of these robots might be particularly useful in the detection of fraud, the fight against money laundering, the risk assessment and the automation of the routine tasks of banks.
They are fast, versatile and easy to apply. They also have a full availability, reduce waiting times, offer a unique experience and can help several people at once. Chatbots offer numerous benefits to banks, while they only pose a great obstacle: they are not "human". The success in the implementation of this technology depends, to a large extent, on the improvement of their design. Nobody likes talking to a robot that does not understand the questions until they are formulated several times. People will not be able to fully trust robots, if they feel that, behind them, there is not enough intelligence. In turn, the particular characteristics of the financial sector may generate a greater rejection in these situations, especially when the operations entail greater economic risks.
While it is true that these conversational bots are not perfect, it is also fair to say that they are becoming smarter, and promise to be even more so as the whole industry is focused on their development. A good example of this is the technology behind Google Assistant, which is able to book tables in restaurants and make appointments in hair salons instead for users. In fact, the people who interact with these virtual assistants fail to realize that they are talking with machines. Also popular is the case of Professor Watson, a conversational bot that acted as if it was an assistant teacher for a semester without its students noticing the trick. Undoubtedly, chatbots have a promising future ahead, but we must not forget that, on certain sensitive issues, personal attention will always be more convenient.
At The CEU IAM Business School we are aware of the new challenges that both banking and the financial sector will have to face. For this reason we offer a current, complete and practical training in different areas of the finance world: an Advanced Program in digital finance, FINTECH, an Advanced Programme in Digital Economy, FINTECH and Intelligent Society (Online), an Executive Master's Degree in Finance, an Advanced Program in Corporate Finance and a Programme Focused on Finance for Decision-Making. Ask for further information!