Artificial Intelligence, Member Exclusive

Letter from the editor: Some thoughts on AI and financial services

  • Beyond the hype of AI, will banks really be able to harness any of the new tools to improve customer experiences and products?
  • From Mastercard to Key Bank, it's clear that AI's first stop isn't anywhere near its last.

Email a Friend

Letter from the editor: Some thoughts on AI and financial services

“I always get extremely excited about a new technology, but I’ll call it a measured, perhaps even a jaded, enthusiasm, because over the years, there’s been so many technologies that are out there. I remember, it’s probably a dozen years ago, people had to end every sentence with and on the blockchain. And you’d have to ask: why is it better than what you have?” – Mastercard CTO Ed McLaughlin on the Tearsheet Podcast

My conversation with Mastercard President and CTO Ed McLaughlin this week helped to put some things in perspective around new technology. You can listen to the whole episode and get the transcript (available only to TS Pro subscribers).

Every few years, there are tech trends that get everyone excited. Part of that is vendor pressure that focuses on point solutions. Part of that is FOMO built and nurtured by financial services consultants supported by data and research. Innovation teams have to demonstrate that they’re getting their hands dirty with the next, new thing. The media is involved, too.

The reason that the steak typically doesn’t match the sizzle when it comes to the tech fads our industry experiences is that the whole adoption curve is typically upside down. Frequently, in the beginning, there are technologies looking for a use case, rather than the other way around.

Think blockchain a couple years ago. Chatbots a few years before that.

Where AI fits in

AI is that technology right now.

Not everyone sees a massive opportunity. Gartner placed generative AI on the Peak of Inflated Expectations on the 2023 Hype Cycle for emerging technologies.

Are things really different this time around with AI?

To be able to answer that, we have to look at:

  1. Better than alternatives?: whether our needs are best served by this new tech (or said differently, is it better enough than existing ways I’m solving my problem).
  2. Value of tech: Is the tech really ready for prime time?

Needs assessment comes before tech evaluation

Here’s Mastercard’s McLaughlin again on the needs assessment that precedes tech adoption:

subscription wall for TS Pro

0 comments on “Letter from the editor: Some thoughts on AI and financial services”

10-Q, Member Exclusive

The strategies behind MoneyLion’s march to profitability

  • MoneyLion's strategy capitalizes on the margin differentials between first-party and third-party products, achieving a 90% product margin through cross-selling initiatives.
  • The firm is pursuing continuous enhancements and investments in its business operations, particularly in expanding the depth of the overall marketplace experience going forward.
Sara Khairi | May 20, 2024
Member Exclusive, Payments

[Payments Briefing] How to spot red flags: American Express’ approach to fintech partnerships is like dating

  • Strengthening its fintech partnerships enables American Express to expand the reach of Amex cards via its Agile Partnership Platform.
  • Amex places a strong emphasis on the payment solutions that potential partners bring to the table, seeking offerings that are not only novel but also rooted in delivering tangible value to customers, regardless of whether they operate in the B2B or B2C space.
Sara Khairi | May 15, 2024
Member Exclusive, Payments

Inside Affirm’s strategy to get new cards in more users’ hands (a visual guide)

  • Affirm's financial results have really picked up over the last quarter and part of that is due to the success it's having with its Affirm Card.
  • Here's the story of Affirm's card growth strategy told in charts.
Zachary Miller | May 13, 2024
10-Q, Member Exclusive

How Affirm is reinventing its approach, and where the firm sees potential for more growth

  • We delve into some of the recent behind-the-scenes strategies that the firm has likely been and continues to be mindful of, contributing to its successful quarter.
  • The Affirm card, addressing technological hurdles and upgrades, along with a focus on inclusive hiring practices, appears to be hitting all the right notes for Affirm's progression.
Sara Khairi | May 13, 2024
10-Q, Member Exclusive

What’s going on at Block?

  • Block is under the legal microscope, adding to a series of investigations the firm has faced in recent years.
  • Considering these circumstances, the question emerges: How Dorsey can adeptly navigate a host of challenges while simultaneously propelling business growth.
Sara Khairi | May 06, 2024
More Articles