Thursday, May 24

Davos Watch: impact investing, unbanked populations get AI treatment for prediction and profit

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Distilled Analytics’ is touting its artificial intelligence platform, which the company claims ingests unstructured and structured data and analyzes complex patterns to calculate outcomes in areas as diverse as economic development, public health, and identity theft.

The company’s founders are connected to a lot of the right names. CEO David Shrier takes credit for nearly $10 billion in “growth opportunities” for companies such as GE, Wolters Kluwer, and EY, among others, and promotes fintech entrepreneurship at MIT and Oxford.

Another co-founder, Alex Pentland, is from MIT, where he directs the Connection Science and Human Dynamics labs. He also advises the UN Secretary-General as well as the leadership of Google, AT&T, and Tencent, having previously led quantitative solutions for Bank of America Merrill Lynch and authored the Oxford Handbook of Credit Derivatives.

Shrier said that after a year in development, the AI-driven data platform is able to measure and predict complex investment-related dimensions that used to be purely qualitative.

The claim is that users will get more accurate and timely risk assessments to expand lending portfolios, much higher resolution identity resolution and predictive models around money laundering, and the ability to increase assets under management for impact investing.

Advisor to the company John D’Agostino said that it’s hardly a secret that current risk and performance measurement systems fall short of market need, and the firm’s model, he added, “merges institutional investing and credit analytics to sophisticated machine learning predictive models”.

Shrier noted: “These new methods of behavioral science, when applied to financial models, enable us to address some of the biggest issues facing financial institutions today: crime reduction, better access to capital, reduced regulatory red tape, and improved prediction of credit risk.”

Distilled Analytics will be taking part in events this week at the World Economic Forum in Davos. This year’s theme for the gathering of economic and political elites is “creating a shared future in a fractured world”.

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