To head up its artificial intelligence (AI) research endeavors, JPMorgan Chase has hired a leading expert in the field. The head of Carnegie Mellon University’s machine learning department, Manuela Veloso, will take the helm as lead of the bank’s AI research team this summer, American Banker reported.
“In this new role, Manuela will establish an AI research capability at JPMorgan, building on our reputation as Wall Street’s leading technology bank,” Sanoke Viswanathan, chief administrative officer for JPMorgan’s corporate and investment bank, wrote in a press release.
In her new position, Veloso will report to Viswanathan. Her hiring illustrates the latest push for banks to invest in machine learning, according to Aite Group research director Julie Conroy.
“Data science resources are hard to come by, and the academic approach coincides very nicely with the practical approach,” Conroy told American Banker. “For instance, you wouldn’t want to bring in a Ph.D. in business strategy to be your new chief strategy officer … but you have seen some vendors started by former rocket scientists that are doing quite well.”
The news comes after JPMorgan Chase & Co. announced a partnership with Amazon that allows its institutional clients to get stock information from Alexa. According to news from Bloomberg, Alexa can now send analysts’ reports and answer any Wall Street-related questions. In addition, other features, such as providing prices on bonds or swaps, could be available in the near future.
Voice assistants are “clearly becoming something people are habituated to in their lives,” said David Hudson, global head of markets execution for JPMorgan Chase. “It’s about taking information that’s somewhere in the bank — that someone has to generally go and look for, or which is time-consuming or requires authentication to get — and [offering] that to you in another channel.”
A survey conducted last year by Bain & Co. found that 6 percent of U.S. respondents now use voice assistant technology to monitor their accounts, while 27 percent are open to using it.