Westpac sees generative AI potential for banks

Westpac’s CTO says generative AI could “find its niche” in the banking sector, though the initial wave of industry enthusiasm for the technology seems 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 surrounding 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 interact with applications and data.”

Walker said that ChatGPT developed by OpenAI “still has access to only a small part of human knowledge”, so “sometimes it writes answers that sound reasonable, but are wrong”.

“With its ability to drive the cost of producing plausible text to near zero, the danger is that we don’t know what to trust,” Walker wrote.

“But if used effectively, the underlying technology has the potential to further open up the acceptance of conversational interfaces and increase personal and corporate productivity.”

Since ChatGPT hit the mainstream last November, there has been considerable experimentation and uptake across many industries, as organizations contemplate the best approach to use the technology.

Commonwealth Bank and ANZ are already exploring options, including for customer privacy and security.

Blockchain Gambling

Walker expressed disappointment with the metaverse, which he said “has struggled to live up to expectations” with no “material progress in an immersive Internet-like digital twin environment.”

However, Walker noted that “immersive technology can enhance remote collaboration, and for banks, that will open up opportunities to connect remotely with their customers.”

Walker added that blockchain technologies have potential in the banking space “to drive efficiencies in areas such as cross-border payments, trade finance, collateral management, settlements, carbon credits, and loyalty.”

He wrote that central banks will continue to investigate their own digital currencies, noting that Westpac already sees potential advantages from central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).

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James D. Brown
James D. Brown
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