Generative AI can help businesses improve work processes and simplify complex systems, but it also comes with risk. In its latest report, Mastercard Signals highlights the potential of the technology, as well as the inherent challenges that come with it.
Generative AI holds promise in transforming commerce and can simplify complex financial processes by acting as a personal wealth manager, seamlessly integrating accounts and providing valuable insights.
“Envision a scenario where an AI-enhanced conversational engine helps formulate college savings plans, procure loans and implement financial strategies, including sophisticated ones that are typically beyond an individual investor. Generative AI’s personalized recommendations and expertise could empower people to navigate their financial lives more adeptly,” the Mastercard report noted.
Potential Hurdles to Consider
However, as with any disruptive technology, there are some potential challenges to consider. One significant concern is the potential socioeconomic divides it may exacerbate. On one hand, the technology can offer an equal playing field for organizations. As Mastercard points out, “retail investors equipped with AI-enhanced tools could potentially rival the performances of professionals in legacy financial offices.” But, for the unbanked and underbanked populations, the level playing field isn’t quite so equal—and that’s something financial organizations need to think about, and act accordingly.
The spread of false information is another consideration that should be top-of-mind. Fraudsters are getting even more sophisticated with their scams, harnessing the power of generative AI to impersonate others. It’s becoming so easy nowadays that many victims are finding it difficult to discern if they’re speaking to someone they know or if someone is just trying to scam them for a significant amount of money. Because the technology creates such a realistic environment, that’s often hard to decipher, it’s more important than ever to be on the lookout for misinformation.
Mastercard detailed one particular example of how fake information has already been leveraged in the real world. A counterfeited photo of an explosion near the Pentagon circulated around May 2023 and caused a stock market drop. As a result, the fraudsters behind the effort were able to profit from it. Not surprisingly, there may be more criminals devising similar strategies at the moment and more awareness around these circumstances is needed.
In the realm of cybersecurity, generative AI presents both risks and benefits. Cybercriminals exploit it to automate attacks and craft phishing campaigns, but defenders can also use generative AI to detect vulnerabilities and identify threat patterns.
Mastercard Signals highlights the transformative potential of generative AI, but also cautions against overlooking its challenges. As the technology becomes more pervasive, it is crucial for businesses, governments, and individuals to work together to harness its benefits and mitigate risks.