Danger, danger Will Robinson: Modernizing risk mitigation systems with AI


How do you define artificial intelligence? Would you define it differently if it was your job to prevent fraud and financial crimes, where the risks are constantly shifting?

In a recent meeting with banking executives responsible for fraud and financial crimes risk mitigation, Wayne Thompson, Manager of Data Science Technologies at SAS was discussing AI. Wayne asked each executive to write on a note card his/her definition of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Each response was anonymous. Here's a sample of responses.

  • "Logic that takes manual operations that may be redundant or remedial and automates and makes the operation more efficient."
  • "Systems that learn from past events and update the system based on the information."
  • "The ability of a computer system to develop processes previously reserved for human intelligence."

All of these definitions are correct. Artificial Intelligence applies machine learning, deep learning and other techniques to solve actual problems. We all benefit from AI today, and may not even realize it. AI powers Google Maps, Uber and Lyft, Alexa and Siri, Tesla and Waymo, and Amazon and Netflix. When you shop online and provide your credit card information the approval happens almost instantaneously. Yep, you guessed it, that's powered by AI.

Where is the danger today?

Today, when I was preparing this blog, I pulled out the note cards from Wayne's presentation and discovered this sentence at the top of one: "Danger, Will Robinson." (Seriously, I am not making this up!) Now that was a blast to the past. Lost in Space was one of my favorite television shows when I was a child. It featured the struggles of the Robinson family to survive in outer space when their space ship was thrown off course.  Whenever the son of the family, Will Robinson, encountered perilous danger, the robot would declare in a panicked tone, "Danger! Danger, Will Robinson!"

There are transnational criminal networks operating today to orchestrate elaborate fraud and financial crimes schemes, and then launder the funds to cover their tracks. According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), “The business email compromise (BEC) scam continues to grow, evolve, and target businesses of all sizes globally. Since January 2015, there has been a 1,300 percent increase in identified exposed losses, now totaling over $3 billion.” Talk about the need for Will Robinson's robot to alert the financial institutions, local law enforcement, and government agencies of potential danger!

In order to continue to protect the integrity of the world's financial systems, we need more modern fraud and financial crimes risk mitigation systems. Recent advancements in AI such as image recognition, natural language generation, natural language processing, and robotic process automation can be game changers.

We find that 60 to 70 percent of an investigator’s or analyst’s time is spent collecting data from multiple internal and external sources. Bringing automation to the investigation can result in a 20 to 30 percent reduction in case reviews. This allows investigators to focus on the more complex fraud and financial crimes schemes.

At SAS we like to think about AI as "Human Intelligence + Artificial Intelligence = Superior Decisioning.” To learn more, watch this webinar about Artificial Intelligence for Financial Crimes.


About Author

Patricia Spinner

Senior Manager of Marketing, SAS Fraud & Security Intelligence

Patricia Spinner is a Senior Manager of Marketing for the SAS Fraud & Security Intelligence Product Line. Spinner leads a team of product marketers responsible for developing and executing strategies and programs to create demand, generate revenue and retain customers. Spinner also has experience in product development and product management. Areas of expertise include Fraud & Financial Crimes Markets for Banking, Government, Health Care and Insurance.

1 Comment

  1. Hm, excellent info, but I thought the title was misleading. I interpreted the "Danger, Will Robinson" reference as a warning concerning unanticipated hazard by improper reliance on AI in risk mitigation.

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