Tech Talk: Discovering the Future of FinTech at Intuit’s Innovation Lab

Powering Prosperity, Technology Neon_on_edit4Jason

The speed of innovation is accelerating at a pace faster than ever before. At Intuit, we believe in using emerging technologies to power prosperity around the world, and we use these innovations to solve complex problems at the heart of economic opportunities for small business owners, self-employed professionals, and millions of customers looking to improve their financial freedom and literacy.

We do this through a number of ways – including, harnessing the power of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning, and delivering solutions that help our customers get more money through less work and with complete confidence.

To explore how these technologies can further enhance our customers’ experiences, we hosted our first-ever Innovation Lab – an evening dedicated to shaping the future of FinTech through conversations with industry leaders, and demonstrations of experiments featuring different applications of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, behavioral science, emotion recognition, and blockchain.

The Future of FinTech: How Emerging Technologies Will Revolutionize Our Relationships with Money

“Trust and convenience allows us to embed financial services into customers lives so much that it is invisible. This is the future we are trying to create.”

Our Chief Data Officer, Ashok Srivastava, spoke to Intuit’s commitment to data stewardship and security alongside panelists Nan Boden (Head of Global Technology Partners, Google Cloud), Swati Bhatia (Vice President of Seller Risk & Experience, PayPal), and Bharath Kadaba (Chief Innovation Officer, Intuit).

Conversations ranged from leveraging AI to “spot the bad guys” in regards to fraud prevention, to bringing humans along with machines for the ride. “We can change peoples’ lives,” Srivastava conveyed, “when humans and machines work together, not separately.”

In addition to the panel discussion, Intuit engineers and data scientists demonstrated five experiments at Innovation Lab – each leveraging a unique application of emerging technologies to explore what’s possible.

1. Predicting Business Trajectory Using Machine Learning

Many small businesses fail within their first five years, largely due to cash flow. Colin Dillard, data scientist at Intuit, explored how to apply machine learning techniques like time series modeling, deep learning, and transfer learning to help small businesses better understand and manage their financials. These activities are all driven by the information and patterns in our customers’ data, and rather than having to make their own guesses about the future of their businesses, customers can rely on Intuit for a personalized and accurate cash flow forecast.

2. Building Financial Resilience Using Behavioral Science

The hypothesis behind Intuit’s Nirmala Ranganathan’s experiment poses that artificial intelligence and behavioral science can empower customers to be more financially literate and savvy. While many folks set financial goals, strategizing a savings plan can be difficult, resulting in risk and uncertainty – especially in emergency situations. By building upon users’ existing behaviors, Intuit can help them improve their financial resilience. Ranganathan’s end result involves a series of personality-based quizzes and tailored recommendations to help users make better financial decisions.

3. Providing Empathetic Financial Assistance Using Emotion Recognition

Chances are, you’ve probably felt frustrated or perplexed at least once while managing your personal or business finances. The goal of this experiment from Cindy Osmon, Principal Software Engineer at Intuit, is to learn if natural language understanding and emotional speech analysis can be applied during a customer experience to reach a deeper emotional connection. “We’re using third-party analysis to determine whether a sentence is sad or happy,” Osmon explained. “Text-to-speech isn’t enough.”

4. Creating a Comprehensive View of Your Financial Life using a Knowledge Graph

In an effort to save customers’ time and eliminate the need for arduous tasks like data entry, Intuit’s Anu Sreeptahty and Clarence Huang believed that a knowledge graph can quickly and continually pull the data needed into a single place and format. The more data we have, the higher level of personalization we can tailor to our customers’ experiences.

5. Automating Business Transaction Workflow Using Blockchain

For this exploration into how blockchain can make business more efficient and anxiety-free, Ashish Kumar Mishra employed blockchain to create a smart contract that automates the workflow of a typical business transaction. This helps alleviate stress over agreeing on terms and conditions, allowing for smoother, streamlined transactions.

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The overarching theme surrounding Innovation Lab is what’s possible. Through five intriguing experiments, our teams explored the endless possibilities of how sophisticated technologies can not only reduce headaches and unnecessary extra steps in financial planning, but also empower our customers to feel confident and informed as they make their decisions.

Learn more about data science and AI/ML at Intuit.

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