Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Friday, April 23, 2021

AI in Fintech, Technology and Academia Is Focus of Nascent U.S. Tech Council 

Finding ways to bring AI more deeply into the business worlds of fintech, technology and academia is the mission of the new National Council for Artificial Intelligence (NCAI).

Bolstered by members so far including Microsoft, Visa, Mastercard, Nasdaq, the Brookings Institution, SUNY, and the University of Central Florida, the group aims to find ways to inspire and promote AI technologies that can have positive societal and financial impacts, while also setting AI strategies and vision for a wide range of projects. Other charter members include CUNY, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the Plug and Play Tech Center.

Each member organization is establishing its own AI ambassadors to lead and drive AI initiatives as the group works to apply AI to resolve significant challenges in business, according to the NCAI. That includes setting industry standards and seeking funding sources for AI efforts, establishing AI skills and employability requirements, and discussing policies for data privacy in the world of AI, including data access and shared innovation policies.

Gretchen O'Hara of Microsoft

“The NCAI was created in response to opportunities in financial service which could benefit from the adoption of AI,” Gretchen O’Hara, vice president of AI and sustainability strategy for Microsoft, told EnterpriseAI. “The coalition brings together key decision-makers from the government, leading AI researchers, top education and academia partners, accelerators and startups to jointly identify and address challenges currently in the industry.”

The group will initially focus on promoting and evaluating AI adoption and use in the U.S. financial services industry by providing educational materials, research, tools and targeted events to share information, said O’Hara. “Through this work we hope to lower the risks of AI adoption, lower barriers of entry to innovate, define the educational journey for the AI talent of the future and equip workers facing AI displacement with the right skills to maintain career momentum.”

The group, which was announced Dec. 11, held its first board meeting Oct. 28.

“The partners represent a diverse group of organizations with equal voice in what and how the NCAI solves AI issues for societal impact,” said O’Hara. “Ambassadors are working collectively to address blockers to AI adoption including ethics, bias, security and policy.”

Dr Nicol Turner Lee of The Brookings Institution

The NCAI board is made up of volunteer senior executives from their member organizations.

Improving AI for Business Use

The group aims to work toward accelerating AI innovation and adoption by lowering the risks of AI use and bias while also lowering the barrier of entry for AI innovations. The NCAI will also focus on helping to retrain and further train workers to participate in the AI industry.

The group will unveil more of its plans and initiatives in early 2021.

Rohit Chauhan of Mastercard

At Mastercard, the company is already using and applying AI across its business, Rohit Chauhan, the executive vice president for AI at the credit card processing company, said in a statement. “It has enabled us to provide quicker, easier and safer ways to transact and interact,” he said. “As AI’s role and influence continues to expand, partnership, knowledge-sharing and best practices are needed to help accelerate the adoption in a responsible, secure and human-centric manner. Our work with the council is just beginning and we’re eager to collaborate and innovate with this group of industry leaders.”

Dr. Nicol Turner Lee, the director of the Center for Technology Innovation at the Brookings Institution, said in a statement that it sees the NCAI as part of its mission to advance effective and inclusive governance of transformative new technologies.

“While artificial intelligence is generating benefits, difficult questions surface in terms of bias and discrimination,” said Turner Lee. “I am excited to join the National Council for Artificial Intelligence together with Microsoft and the other member organizations to work together to drive major solutions and policies that govern innovation, and drive the advancement of digital equity and inclusion for historically disadvantaged populations.”

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