Misconceptions of Artificial Intelligence

Part 1: Machines vs. Humans

By Shazia Manus, Chief Strategy and Business Development Officer, AdvantEdge Analytics

Artificial intelligence (AI) will one day solve many of the problems presented by new market realities. While application of the technology in the community financial service space is still in its infancy, the possibilities are great, and the time to begin exploring is now.

Yet leaders in the credit union industry are unsure. Even as proofs of concept and use cases around AI innovation reshape the financial services ethos, they remain skeptical. Hype and myth drive a lot of this, and so that is why we are writing this series of articles—to separate fiction from truth when it comes to AI. 

Over the next few weeks, we will tackle three AI misconceptions. To see the true potential for AI, credit union innovators will have to look each of these misconceptions squarely in the eye and challenge them. Let’s begin with the first one:

Misconception: AI will overpower humans.

Truth: AI will empower humans.

Humans vs. Machines

Job destruction and job creation go hand in hand. When technology takes over the jobs of people, new jobs emerge. It happened during the Industrial Revolution and again in the 1980s. When we look at AI through this lens, fear of lost jobs is replaced by excitement for redesigned jobs.

Most AI-based solutions today still require the minds of humans to reach their potential. Indeed, great things happen when humans and machines work together. Let's remind ourselves of this one simple fact: We are not passive consumers of data and technology. Rather, we shape the role technology plays in our lives – the way we use it and the way we make it meaningful. To do so, we must pay as much attention to how we think as to how we code. We must ask the hard questions to move past blindly deploying software to truly understanding it.

Inside the movement, AI should be viewed as a technology that helps deepen, not erase, the member relationship. A rapidly changing world creates a sense of discomfort for many people. Credit unions can inject calm and trust into a disruptive environment.

Particularly when we consider the highly emotional journey that is money management, it’s clear there is a place for consistency and comfort in the financial services marketplace—assuming those benefits don’t come at the cost of convenience and speed. In other words, there’s an opportunity for credit unions to maintain the human side of banking even as the discipline “goes digital.”

Laura Thompson, SVP / CIO for Orange County’s Credit Union said it well in our recently released white paper, How Humans and Machines Will Transform the Credit Union Industry

“We may be really nice to people, but if we don’t show we know them as individuals, we’re not living up to what’s expected,” Thompson said. “Digital companies are setting a new standard for personalized service that our members also want from their credit union. Most credit unions are already excellent at distinctive service; add a digital mindset to that skill, and you’ll have the speed, convenience and personalization to attract and keep members for life.”

Many of today’s AI concepts are being proven in the member support center, with natural language processing and IVR data analytics tools, creating new opportunities for solving members’ problems quickly. Each of these works to empower, not replace, member support staff.  AI will turn the raw material of big data into “teachable moments” that help us deliver better, more personalized solutions for members—often before they even know there’s a problem.

To further separate fiction from truth when it comes to AI—and to better understand when the time is right to contextualize this technology into your credit union—download our latest white paper: How Humans and Machines Will Transform the Credit Union Industry.