Insight Economy: Natural Language Processing for Financial Services, University of Galway

Submitted on Thursday, 19/10/2023

Insight at the University of Galway is helping global financial services company Fidelity Investments to use natural language processing and AI to improve the customer experience and build regtech solutions.

Natural language processing (NLP) allows us to detect, understand and respond to spoken or written language. As a result, NLP can help companies improve interactions with customers.

The financial services giant Fidelity Investments, which has had a footprint in Ireland since the 1990s, has partnered with Insight to build novel machine-learning NLP applications for customers.

In a recent article in The AI Journal Dr Nicola Stokes described the benefits of the partnership. ‘The research teams involved in these projects value the ability to collaborate with industry not only locally, but also with AI and Data Science experts in the U.S. The academics also value opportunities to work with real data and confirm their research findings on real-world industry problems. Meanwhile, Fidelity gains access to state-of-the-art research that can improve how it serve and supports customers.’

Insight reseachers such as Professor Paul Buitelaar (pictured) work with the company’s Data Scientists and Solution Architects.  Speaking to The AI Journal, Fintan O’Malley, Director of Research, Development and Innovation at Fidelity Investments Ireland, describes the dynamic.

‘When you bring researchers and academics into the conversation, they help open up conversations to a lot more possibilities. You may start a project with one specific objective and realise that there is much more possible here by drawing from the ‘state of the art’ in academic research. It’s not absolutely prescribed from beginning to end, and that’s the beauty of it. The research ecosystem worked seamlessly – giving the Fidelity product-development team access to a multi-disciplinary expertise with minimal effort. SFI encourages multi-disciplinary collaboration in order to provide not only domain-specific research but offer industry cross-sectoral research. For instance, in an NLP project where you may draw from social media data, you may also benefit from input from the social sciences schools. This holistic research offering can be a game changer.’

The partnership has led to  publications, proof of concepts, patents and new products, as well as the release of an open-source software tool for knowledge graph extraction called Saffron, which can be used to develop chatbot solutions.