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Money20/20: Quantum and generative AI together is ‘scary’ - ING

Money20/20: Quantum and generative AI together is ‘scary’ - ING

At Money20/20 in Amsterdam, Finextra chatted to ING’s head of corporate strategy & innovation Jeroen Plag about how the bank has merged the innovation and strategy departments bringing initiatives closer to the business like CoorpID and Blacksmith and is now focusing on building new assets.

ING’s two strategic priorities are ensuring that sustainability is at the heart of everything they do, and creating a superior customer experience,” as Plag said.

He continued: “Innovation at ING happens every day. Maybe it’s little bits of operational improvement, but that’s why decided to make changes.” Plag added that the bank has picked three areas where the underlying technology is being tested to see if they are viable drivers of innovation.

These three areas are open finance, digital assets, and emerging technologies such as generative AI and quantum computing. Referencing a session at Money20/20 where Nick Corrigan, European president, Global Payments mentioned that “no one really knows what the end game is. We’re right at the start” regarding open banking, Plag explained that there is a challenge around customer uptake.

“Customers don’t talk about open banking or open finance; they talk about experiences. We compare ourselves to Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, and Uber because they set the bar for customer experience. One of the reasons why the UK was the front runner is that technology challenges were resolved. So, it needs to work on a daily basis, which has become a challenge because we have not been able to find new business models that are appealing enough to actually push services,” Plag explained.

In that same session, Jim Wadsworth, EVP, strategic market development, Konsentus, mentioned that PSD2 was a good start, but as Plag explored, the industry is waiting for the upcoming PSD3 and beyond. Despite all this information sharing that will occur, Plag added that banks will remain trusted partners to provide customer experience.

On digital assets and emerging technologies, Plag continued to say that “it is all about providing a better customer experience and whether I do that via open finance or using generative AI in our call centres. Or utilising the blockchain to tokenise mortgages and provide them in five days, rather than 60 days.”

In Plag’s view, the retail customer does not know or care what technology is being used and we need to “move away from all the terminology and focus on making sure our customers’ lives are better and easier.”

Plag concluded by saying that ING are testing all these technologies, but they cannot use real customer data because of their cloud databases. There are also ESG considerations because the more data that is used, the more analysis is needed, as well as more data centres, which requires a large amount of energy.

In addition to this, employees need to be trained to utilise these tools and do a better job with these technologies embedded into their day-to-day lives, but also in a secure way. “We need to regulate this. If you put quantum and generative AI together, fraudsters will get your PIN number. We need to prepare and defend ourselves for what is coming. It’s very interesting and scary at the same time.”

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