AI & ML in Finance | Grant Frear
AI and ML is no longer a futuristic ideal within the financial ecosystem. With the onset of Covid-19, organisations around the world have had to expedite their digital transformation programs to cater for the changes in consumer behaviour. We chatted to Grant Frear and see what he had to say...
As we become increasingly digitally connected we are increasingly exposing ourselves to personal risk. The use cases where banks are applying AI/ML into the area of financial crimes and fraud is great. The volume of electronic/digital transactions is mind blowing and well beyond traditional monitoring/control practices. This is where the convergence of cloud computing and AI/ML is great. We can keep people safer and close down the loopholes/bad actors in the system so much more effectively at scale with a learning model. There is certainly a large data set of financial fraud to provide a training data set to AI/ML.
I am fascinated by the advancement of AI/ML by researchers where it is not immediately obvious where the business benefits will come from. I also love the idea that I heard somewhere that the future is all around us, it is just that the signal is weak. I was particularly fascinated by Dall-E. While I can see no practical application of an AI generated image of “an armchair in the shape of an avocado…” I am sure that within time it will be commonplace to use Dall-E and its descendants for all sorts of business uses.
For an organisation to be data-led I think they need to firstly have a high degree of data literacy at Board/Exec level, be willing to ask for and be led by data/insights, have a relentless focus on data quality, encourage continued learning and experimentation based on data and lastly apply the right level of scepticism and challenge to ensure that the algorithm is working in the best interest of the organisation and all its stakeholders (customers, community, environment etc.).
Just like everyone else I get older every day. Whilst I do lots to try and prevent cognitive decline it is clear I am not as sharp as I once was. As AI/ML becomes increasingly embedded in everyday living (mobility, entertainment, commerce, health etc.) I am hopeful that with the support of embedded AI/ML my life will become easier, allowing me to forget less of the things I should be doing and allow me to spend more time doing the things I really enjoy and less of racking of my brain on the things that have ‘slipped through the cracks’
I read lots of interesting books (albeit a bit less in lockdown now that the library is closed). With respect to this topic, I read two books I can recommend. Weapons of Math Destruction (Cathy O’Neil) which is a reminder that as powerful as AI/ML are there is a lot of work required to make sure they work for all of us. Uncanny Valley (Anna Wiener) which looks under the covers of working for a tech company from a female perspective.
Grant is a partner at Deloitte Digital in the New Zealand Consulting practice. Grant leads the Customer & Marketing portfolio within NZ. After 7 years as a partner Grant took a secondment to a client (ASB – Auckland Savings Bank) to fill a role on their executive team to drive their corporate strategy. Whilst being focused on Digital Transformation and Customer Transformation he also works with clients on strategy & innovation.
Grant has been involved in a significant number of transformation and change initiatives for our clients. This includes strategy, planning and delivery. Client examples include merger of 4 local government entities, implementation of shared services for a multi-national construction company. Most recently Grant has been working with leadership teams and boards on strategy development.
Grant’s formal education is in engineering. Grant progressed straight from University into the consulting industry due to an interest in innovation, change and working on the frontier of change. Grant is currently studying Te Reo Maori which is the indigenous language of New Zealand.