Westpac sees generative AI potential for banks
Westpac’s chief technology officer says generative AI could “find its niche” with the banking sector, although an initial wave of industry excitement over the technology appears to have faded.
CTO David Walker said that while ChatGPT is overhyped “for now”, generative AI as a broader technology trend “is likely to be transformative.”
“As the fanfare that surrounds ChatGPT begins to die down, this class of AI should find its niche in certain job functions and industries,” he wrote in a Westpac Wire blog post.
“For banks, generative AI offers many possibilities, from writing software and drafting policies, to using language to interface with applications and data.”
Walker said OpenAI-developed ChatGPT “still has access to only a small portion of human knowledge”, so it “sometimes writes reasonable-sounding, but incorrect, answers”.
“With its ability to drive the cost of producing plausible text to near zero, the danger is that we won’t know what to trust,” Walker wrote.
“But used effectively, the underlying technology has the ability to further open up the acceptance of conversational interfaces and lift personal and corporate productivity.”
Since ChatGPT hit the mainstream last November, there has been considerable experimentation and uptake across many industries, as organisations contemplate the best approach to using the technology.
The Commonwealth Bank and ANZ are already exploring options, including for customer security and privacy.
Walker expressed disappointment with the metaverse, which he said “has struggled to live up to the hype” with no “material progress on an immersive digital twin internet-like environment”.
However, Walker noted “immersive technology canenhance remote collaboration, and for banks, that will open up opportunities to remotely connect with their customers.”
Walker added blockchain technologies have potential in the banking space “to drive efficiencies in areas like cross-border payments, trade financing, collateral management, settlements, carbon credit, and loyalty.”
He wrote that central banks will continue to investigate their own digital currencies, highlighting that Westpac already sees potential advantages of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).