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31st of January 2017

Mobey Helsinki June 2015

Sirpa Nordlund, Executive Director, Mobey Forum

In the mid-1990s, many of us were engaged in the discussion of the fundamental concept of intelligence. The books by Daniel Goleman “Emotional Intelligence” and later “Social Intelligence” created a lot of buzz and attracted attention. Back then there was little or no mention of “financial intelligence”.

Fast forward to December 2016: Mobey Forum is hosting its first ever North American edition of its flagship event Mobey Day and intelligence is all over the fintech agenda. However, in the current discourse, intelligence is no longer restricted to humans. The machines we are surrounded by become increasingly more sophisticated and even skilled and we look at them with a new perspective. It is no longer pure science-fiction when we talk about robotics, predictive analytics, machine learning (ML) and even artificial intelligence (AI).

Mobey Forum has been shaping and following the debate about predictive analytics in financial services through its workgroup on the topic, and considers this as one of the fastest growing and most attractive areas of evolution in fintech. We see the need of using data wisely as one of the main features of a smart bank, and want to give our members a good understanding of their maturity in using data.

While the common tone of public debate about the role of robots and AI tend to be quite gloomy (not to mention most of the films on this topic), the discussion on Mobey Day in Toronto was seemingly optimistic. IBM’s Watson technology is widely hailed as the leading AI implementation, but as IBM’s speaker Pavel Abdur-Rahman pointed out, it would take significant time – and possibly also quantum computing – before we see artificial intelligence operate at the same or higher capacity as the human brain. Also BigML, as the leading company of Machine Learning, brought useful cases into discussion of how to start using machine learning in incumbent companies in an effective way.

In the meeting there were two main points about the current application of robotics and AI in financial services. Firstly, one of the main purposes of applying robotics to financial services is to make real people’s jobs less robotic. This is an interesting notion as the overarching digitisation agenda is about digitising entire processes claiming that all tasks that can be automated are likely to be automated.

The second important point was that although “true super AI” is on the horizon, there are already plenty of opportunities of applying AI to financial services. The tools for machine learning and big data analytics can assist the existing manual advisory processes through what he called “Augmented Intelligence” serving relevant analytics and contextual insights to support the customer dialogue. ChatBots and personal finance assistants are here already now, but their intelligence level is about to sky-rocket. The more open data there is, the better services companies can develop.

“One of the main purposes of applying robotics to financial services is to make real people’s jobs less robotic.”

While we at previous Mobey events have heard the saying that “AI is the new UI” – Mobey Day in Toronto also demonstrated that when it comes to creating truly engaging user experience good old fashioned blog creativity could still steal the show. Everyone in the audience was truly impressed by the creativity demonstrated by the three teams of young entrepreneurs, which each demonstrated their take on the bank of the future as part of a competition sponsored by Visa. The winning team – with the creative name “Hasta la Visa”- had managed to create a convincing prototype of their money management tool for millennials. It included interesting educational aspects through advising on investments and tax planning. It provides the users with peace of mind from a financial perspective rather than pure transactional services, which indeed was the winning formula.

Looking back to Mobey Forum’s previous Mobey Day event in Barcelona, where the emotional aspect of financial services took centre stage, it was nice to see that also the young generation of fintech entrepreneurs see the future consumers engaging with digital financial services on an emotional level.

Emotional intelligence is key in developing smart services, especially those using AI. The feeling of trust and security are in key role for excellent customer experience, especially in the first wave of simple, straight-forward AI-driven services. People should not be required to give up their privacy for better services either, but rather demand better services with manners. What we saw both in Toronto and Barcelona, there is no turning back of turning big data into intelligent, well-mannered financial services!

Creative young minds, an inspiring environment and extraordinary technological advances made us leave Toronto Mobey Day with full of hope for the future of digital services in 2017 and beyond.

It also marked as the last meeting for me as the Executive Director of Mobey Forum. Only the change keeps us young and vibrant, and after 6 years of this amazing journey at Mobey Forum it is time to take the next step. I have enjoyed spectacular views and mesmerizing insights through our smart members, and with these strengths, I believe Mobey is ready to take a huge step forward. The new captain Maikki Frisk has all the skills to do that. Even her name has a meaning: Frisk means fresh, sound and invigorated! I foresee Mobey Forum flying high under her leadership.

The next chapter of experiences at Mobey is awaiting us in Rotterdam, the first member meeting of 2017 hosted by Rambus BellID. It will focus on the shift from payments to buying experience. All our members, welcome to Rotterdam. Those of you wishing to be members, welcome on board! There are no better views than seen at Mobey – providing the content you cannot google! See more on

Mobey Forum is currently making a survey on the maturity of data usage in companies. Please visit our predictive analytics report here:  If you want to participate in our on-going survey, please get in touch with laura.sanguinetti(at)


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