Fintech: JP Morgan Chase hires head of AI research
Prof Manuela Veloso

Fintech: JP Morgan Chase hires head of AI research

NEWSBYTE JP Morgan Chase is signalling a move deeper into artificial intelligence by hiring a head of AI research – a new role within the company.

The bank, which is the largest in the US by assets, revealed that it has poached Carnegie Mellon University’s head of machine learning, Manuela Veloso, for the position. Prof. Veloso will build on the company’s existing work in machine learning, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“Providing easy-to-use technology in order to deliver a great client experience will continue to be a major differentiator,” JP Morgan co-president and co-COO Daniel Pinto wrote in his April shareholder letter. “Looking five to 10 years out, the pace of technological innovation will only quicken as artificial intelligence, robotics, machine learning, distributed ledgers, and big data will all shape our future.”

Internet of Business says

AI is a key focus for many banks, financial services companies, and insurers. It has already caught the attention of the likes of Mitsubishi UFJ, Bank of America, Merrill Edge, and UBS, which are using it in the context of increased automation in customer service, and even in new investment platforms.

Some banks are using the technology to second-guess customer behaviour or persuade investors to think outside their comfort zones, while others are using neural networks to help detect fraudulent transactions and aid their own compliance activities.

However, Veloso’s appointment is good news for another reason, too: it is further evidence that rising numbers of senior figures in the world of AI and robotics are women, including many senior academics and policymakers in the UK, for example.

Among many others, these include: Lucy Martin, head of robotics at EPSRC; Dame Wendy Hall, co-author of the UK’s AI strategy review; and Gila Sacks, director of digital and tech policy at DCMS, and Dr Rannia Leontaridi, director of Business Growth at BEIS, who jointly run the new Office for AI in Whitehall. In the US, Virginia Rometty has led IBM’s organisation-wide refocusing on cognitive services.

With the world of coding overwhelmingly dominated by men, who hold an estimated 90 percent of programming jobs and 83 percent of all STEM careers – according to figures released at UK Robotics Week last year – increased diversity is essential in the sector, particularly as AI systems have already been shown to pick up unintended gender, racial, and cultural biases from their development teams.