Redundancy in the software and information domain used to mostly be about the system’s fault tolerance. Fast forward to present day, however, and the increasing availability and affordability of cloud computing has changed many design paradigms and has led to the proliferation of software systems running on cloud providers’ “everything-as-a-service” platforms. The former can no longer be vertically-architected and centrally-managed.
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Advancing into the future sometimes means diving into the past. When ATB sought to find ways to extract information from a deluge of analog data hidden in decades’ worth of historical paperwork, we taught machines to read - shrinking down years of work into a matter of hours. In this whitepaper, Rhys Chouinard and Tyler Dauphinee of the ATB AI Guild breakdown the process we undertook to develop and test Optical Character Recognition.
We learn by doing, and Blockchain technology is something we are "doing" a lot of. We’ve changed the way international money transfers leverage Blockchain. Now, we’re building systems for maintaining identity records. But we like to keep it in the community, so we’re also using Blockchain to tackle a very Albertan topic… Oil Settlement Day.
Cryptocurrencies and the companies that create and manage them may seem to operate in a plane separate from the traditional banking sector. But in reality, to run a business, hire staff, buy servers/equipment, rent an office, and pay utilities and taxes, every business needs at least some fiat currency. This means that cryptocurrency ventures in most cases still need to rely on business banking services from more traditional banking services providers.
What is a better role for ATB than to be the provider of banking solutions to Alberta businesses implementing innovative solutions? In our drive to lead the technology revolution of the banking sector, we’ve been sharing our passion for areas like blockchain, cryptocurrency, and artificial intelligence. This focus allows us to leverage a willingness to provide business banking solutions that go beyond traditional offerings.
At a large organization in an established industry, there will always be“organizational inertia”: that is to say, it’s hard to adapt and respond to new threats (or opportunities) when the organization is busy staying focused on its day-to-day operations and delivering on expectations. The adage “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” often reigns supreme. Change is hard, and staying focused is key – especially when people’s finances, businesses, and homes are at stake. In recent years, however, the banking industry in Canada hit an inflection point. The processing power of cloud computers has finally reached a critical point where it is now cheaper to rent secure space on a server, rather than buy and house data stores on-premise. Not to mention the data loss risk reduction provided by redundancy systems in cloud storage.
Sovrin is a blockchain network that works by acting as the “middle man” between facts—they accept facts about people or places, as well as the verification from another authorized party that those facts are true and trustworthy. For example, in the future, when we all have digital identity records, you could add your new driver’s license to your records through Sovrin, and the Government of Alberta could verify that it is, in fact, a real and valid license. From there, you could use your identity record anywhere you need to present ID with the simple scan of a QR code.
Think of all the places your identity is currently stored. Rather than 10-20 different organizations having their own version of your identity, you could go through life with one consistent record, that you completely control, granting other parties access to it when necessary—to open a bank account, get a car loan or be approved for your first mortgage. This is the future ATB is exploring, with the help of blockchain technology. And our starting point is, of course, making banking work for you.
Advancements in robotic process automation are enabling companies to quickly introduce improvements to outdated, complex, or error-ridden processes. But it’s not as simple as setting a bot loose and seeing massive returns in time and money saved.
With each new digital product entering the marketplace, new data is forming everyday. Yet, with the massive power this data holds come a number of challenges. We're referring, of course, to the heightened vulnerability around personal data and the risks associated with this vulnerability for the everyday Albertan. The mass digitization of records and services resulted in a fractured web of personal data, owned by various parties.
At ATB, we know a key aspect of embracing digital transformation means making massive strides in securing our customer’s personal data. This is why, not long ago, we made a commitment to focus on a collaborative approach to self-sovereign digital identity. As part of our work leveraging blockchain solutions to improve life for Albertans, we’re aiming to place the control of data back in the hands of those who own it - without compromising the seamless experience our customers have come to expect.
At ATB, we hold the belief that AI may be the biggest and most disruptive technology advancement we see in our lifetimes. The power and reach of machine learning is rapidly expanding into many areas of ATB, and into our everyday lives. The long-term sustainability of any enterprise is predicated on trust and for any data-driven organization, the respectful and ethical treatment of data is core to building reliable AI solutions. Furthermore, an organization-wide governance process needs to be established, to ensure the AI solutions work as intended and the right controls for risks are in place. That starts with our AI Governance.
At ATB, we are working with leading edge technology with the goal of serving our customers better. Artificial intelligence is one such technology that we’re working with to achieve this goal. AI holds significant promise for the future, but hand-in-hand with the opportunities AI brings are potential uncertainties, and for some, discomfort.