Deep Dive into AI & FinTech with Nuno Sebastiao, CEO, Feedzai

October 22, 2017

Tricia Kemp - OAK HC/FT

Patricia Kemp: What role does artificial intelligence (AI) play in Feedzai’s business?

Nuno Sebastio: Despite the fact that AI has been around for 50 years, our customers continually tell us that they need AI, but that it is too hard or expensive to wire on and takes too long to start working.

But, we at Feedzai, know AI. AI is our business, in fact, it is in our name. We use this technology to help make sense of commerce omni-data to identify trends and patterns that help predict — in real time — whether a transaction is good or bad, fraudulent or not. With AI, we have creating the world’s most robust risk management platforms, that solve our customers’ most challenging problems.

PK: How do you see AI affecting the financial services industry in the short term?

NS: We’re witnessing AI, this “cognitive revolution,” sweep through every sector, and taking financial services by storm. What is happening at Money20/20 this year with AI Deep Dive is indicative of the effects of AI and the potential it provides for companies across financial services to modernize and create remarkable customer experiences.

Let’s put it this way. Every one of the AI Deep Dive speakers — from the “bare-metal” leaders at Stripe, Square, Intel, Amazon, HSBC, and others, as well as technology visionaries like Steve Wozniak, Ray Kurzweil and Dr. Michio Kaku — are presenting on how important AI is in financial services now. This shows how critically important it is to be strategizing towards AI now, for your business to be effective in the years to come.

PK: And in the long term? Do you think there are any areas of banking or financial services that can be completely replaced with AI?

NS: Rather than thinking in terms of “AI replacing humans,” we think of AI as an important tool to augment humans and make their work more powerful and intelligent. Machine learning systems being built now are only an intermediary step. Our vision is to evolve machine learning to something we call Machine Teaching — where the insights gained by the machines are not locked away in a “blackbox” but instead begin to explain and show human operators what is happening underneath, to demystify the machine logic.

At Feedzai, we do this by making machine models that do their core job — managing risk for banks and merchants — and we have secondary models that explain and teach us what the machine model is doing. Machines actually teaching people, now that’s a breakthrough!

PK: What are your plans for Money20/20 this year?

NS: We’ve been big supporters of all the Money20/20 events because, as the name implies, it brings together people who can see clearly “what’s next.” Feedzai was one of the first to sign up as Money20/20 expanded to Copenhagen, then Singapore, and we’ll be one of the first supporters as they move into China. But this year, we have an additional and unique focus.

We are proud to be the first of its kind partner to Money20/20 by creating an “event within an event” with the AI Deep Dive. We will serve as hosts of the event, empowering the content and conversation driven around the topic at an event with so many important leaders. We like to call it “the Davos of AI.”

PK: Aside from the AI Deep Dive Track, which panel discussion or Money20/20 event are you most excited to attend?

NS: The Startup Pitches and Hackathon are important for us, the next disruptors will come from here so we stay close to these events. I think Max Levchin’s talk on Reinventing Credit will be enlightening as he’s always been at the unique intersection of technology and money. Thorsten Wölfe’s Emotional E-Commerce panel is another good one, another example of the knock-on effects from rewiring of the payments ecosystem. Also inspiring is Ezequiel Szafir of Santander’s How a 20-Year-Old Bank Was Reborn promises to reveal how their use of machine learning and artificial intelligence enabled them to deliver an entirely cloud-based bank.

PK: What do you think of your caricature this year? Who has the best caricature that you have seen?

NS: I love the caricatures, it is such a uniquely Money20/20 thing. The caricature version of me keeps looking younger and younger, although I feel like I’ve lived a dozen lives in only the last 12 months. My favorite caricature is of course Steve Wozniak, it looks just like him!