Can AI spy financial crime without implicating innocents?

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July 25 2017

I was talking to a banking compliance executive recently about how banks are looking to use artificial intelligence to spot clues to crimes being committed by customers or employees.  This executive was clearly not buying into the hype.

“We’ve thought about that, but we don’t plan to use it at this time,” she said. “There’s too much risk of innocent people getting caught up in a dragnet.”  An AI engine could find a pattern of transactions or behavior among law-abiding customers that mimics money laundering or some other crime. A program that analyzes social media networks might see that I have a cousin who lives in Iraq and is a member of ISIS and that I once co-owned a business with him (that’s a hypothetical example), and be flagged as suspicious.