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Can AI Regulate Banks Better Than Humans?

Human-run institutions have had a spectacularly poor track record at monitoring the activity of the world’s largest banks, so companies are turning to artificial intelligence instead. 

What’s the Latest Development?

Now that the ability of our governmental institutions to regulate the banking industry has become a laughing stock, artificial intelligence may be better suited to tell us when something is amiss. In the latest scandal, emails taken from the English bank Barclays reveal how employees illegally rigged an important interest rate in the bank’s favor. That prompted then-CEO Bob Diamond to say: “When I read the emails from those traders I got physically ill.” Now companies are working on AI technology that could comb vast amounts of internal documents and raise red flags at aberrant behavior. 

What’s the Big Idea?

Autonomy, a Hewlett-Packard subsidiary, is already capable of searching through a company’s ‘unstructured’ data, rather than information held in corporate databases. “This could include tweets, text messages, Skype video, smartphone data, emails, or transcripts from phone calls. The software then hunts for examples of behaviour that varies from normal practice.” Another organization in Poland has written algorithms to help police detect money laundering, based on unusual bank transactions that suggest wrongdoing. In some cases, even what is regarded as deleted data is accessible to the do-gooder software. 

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