By Ronan Vander Elst, Director Technology & Enterprise Application, Deloitte Luxembourg.

A combination of significant increase in computing power and progress in neuroengineering has pushed self-learning algorithms to take up ever greater challenges. Generally referred to as artificial intelligence (AI), the technology’s speed of development is constantly exceeding experts’ predictions. This year alone, AI start-ups have raised more than US$2 billion in venture capital funding.

One of the most prominent examples of AI used in enterprises is IBM’s Watson. Watson is an AI-based computer system responding to natural language. It can analyze all sorts of data, grow its expertise through machine learning and yield personalized recommendations. While Watson has wide-ranging application possibilities, a readily available solution entails the possibility to build Watson-based chatbot systems that can be implemented in less than 10 minutes.

The possibilities of AI are already showing their first impacts on the financial services industry. An increasing number of banks is cooperating with start-ups to leverage their huge amounts of data and consequently better understand their customers and provide them with superior services. AI-powered algorithms crunch through their data and yield intelligence that can be applied in fields ranging from detecting fraud to better understanding credit risk. This very solution is already offered by Crowdprocess, which provides a SaaS-based platform for credit risk management. The company, which recently won the Money 20/20 Award for Best FinTech Start-up, reduces the default rate of loans issued by banks through machine learning based predictive models.

Artificial intelligence unleashes the potential of Big Data in other industries as well. Online advertisement companies are using intelligent algorithms to identify patterns in customer behavior and thus enhance customer segmentation and targeting. Pixoneye, which has already raised more than US$4 million, is a start-up rendering online ad targeting more effective by evaluating a customer’s phone camera roll. Their software can thus find out if a person just got a baby, moved to a new house, what clothes they like or where they like to travel.

Recognising the huge potential of AI, institutions and governments throughout the world are increasingly promoting its application and further development. A major initiative is the Human Brain Project. The project, launched by the European Commission, will have at its disposal around €1 billion to conduct research on the brain, cognitive neuroscience and brain-inspired computing.

For a chance to have a chat with Watson and meet inspiring people from Crowdprocess, Pixoneye and the Human Brain Project, come by and join the Deloitte Digital Series. The event will take place at Deloitte’s Luxembourg premises on 25 April 2017, from 17:00 to 19:00.