Microsoft and ALN Academy push for adoption of Artificial Intelligence in the Finance Industry


Microsoft and the African Legal Network (ALN) Academy have called on the financial services sector to build artificial intelligence (AI) capacity. This will ensure that the current and next generation of professionals think and act alongside technology.

This rallying call was made during a roundtable event titled Brave New Way”, hosted at the Microsoft Policy Innovation Centre to raise awareness around the best practices and development of guidelines for AI and distributed ledger technology in the financial sector and related areas.

ALN Academy has made digital transformation discourses a central thematic area within its overall offerings.  This is because it is vital that capacity building efforts are able to prepare the current and next generation of professionals to embrace technology in ways that are centred around the holistic improvement of human relations and service experiences.

The event also sought to address concerns about the impending risk of using AI. These concerns include whether automation will result in job losses or whether human interfaces or interactions be replaced by intelligent technology among others. With rise in privacy regulation, there are also concerns about the use and potential abuse of personal data.

Otilia Phiri, Microsoft Attorney – Emerging Markets, Middle East & Africa, had this to say, “As Digital Transformation across industries reaches peak intensity, we have seen historical barriers to trade evolve. As our trade structures change, it has become imperative for our views on governance and compliance to also progress. The economic opportunities that emerging technologies like AI and Blockchain offer cannot be ignored. It has been estimated that AI could contribute up to $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030, more than the current output of China and India combined. Here in Kenya, this opportunity has been recognized in various ways including the establishment of the Blockchain and AI Task Force and the recently launched regulatory sandbox offered by the Capital Markets Authority.”

Otilia also added that, “Emerging technologies like AI and Blockchain have the power to transform the financial services industry in significant ways like we have seen the mobile phone and the rise of mobile payment solutions like MPESA impact financial inclusion in Kenya for example. Some of the use cases of AI in Financial Services include applications to assess credit quality, for automating client interaction (we have already seen the surge of customer service bots) and to price or market insurance offerings. For blockchain we’ve already seen early adopters leverage the innovation for trade finance (simplifying letter of credit processes for example), for automating compliance and for driving payment settlement efficiencies.”

Femi Omere Executive Director of ALN Academy, had this to say, “Best practice sharing within the industry can accelerate the development of risk-based principles guiding the adoption, use and governance of emerging technologies like AI and Blockchain particularly within the financial services sector, but by no way exclusive to this field. It is by remaining at the centre of the developments in technology that the human effort, inclusive of that eye to determine intrinsic value, shall remain relevant. The current and next generation of professionals will not only need to embrace technology but will also need to develop   holistic approaches to understanding human relations and service experiences, especially as they relate to  AI.”



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