AWS Public Sector Blog

AWS convenes public sector and industry leaders on future of AI in federal financial services

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On February 22, 2024, Amazon Web Services (AWS) hosted its first Federal Financial Services Artificial Intelligence (AI) Forum at Amazon HQ2 in Arlington, Virginia, convening leaders from the public sector and financial services industry.

AI has the potential to revolutionize the financial services sector by leveraging data to enhance customer experiences, reduce risks, mitigate counterintelligence, and streamline operations. This forum was the perfect platform to discuss these tremendous opportunities and challenges with experts across public and private sector organizations like Freddie Mac, Federal Reserve System, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

This forum comes at a time when the federal government is leaning in with the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF), which was announced a few weeks ago. TMF is a call for proposals to help federal agencies implement President Biden’s Executive Order on the safe, secure, and trustworthy development and use of AI in the federal government.

The agenda covered a range of topics, including a fireside chat discussing the White House’s perspective on AI with Elizabeth Kelly, Director of the U.S. AI Safety Institute at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and former Special Assistant to the President within the National Economic Council, and Michael Greenwald, global head for digital assets and financial innovation at AWS. This discussion touched on the implementation of the President’s Executive Order on AI, along with measures designed to protect privacy, advance equity, and promote innovation.

Michael Greenwald is seated left and Elizabeth Kelly seated right on stage during their fireside chat at the Federal Financial Services AI Forum

Elizabeth Kelly and Michael Greenwald on stage during their fireside chat.

When asked how she believes the next generation will describe AI, Kelly responded, “It’ll be like asking one of us to describe the internet. It is not just one thing; it’s everywhere and shapes the entire world around us.” Kelly added that the U.S. is “promoting a competitive, robust ecosystem and needs to provide resources like chips and cloud credits to people who want to start building AI models for public good, which is what we are doing through the National AI Research Resource (NAIRR) pilot.”

Dominic Delmolino, VP of technology for AWS Worldwide Public Sector, led a conversation on how AWS is approaching AI, including product capabilities and innovative customer use cases. Delmolino shared different ways public sector and industry financial services customers can utilize AWS AI solutions to enhance customer experience, boost employee productivity and creativity, and optimize business processes.

Eric Wazorko, principal of AWS Federal Financials, led a panel focusing on what it means to innovate with AI. Several senior industry leaders joined him to share their organizations’ approach to promoting innovation using AI and machine learning (ML) technologies. Sunayna Tuteja, Chief Innovation Officer, Federal Reserve System, said, “A responsible innovation framework is an imperative in the interrogation of any new technology, which is especially true with generative AI. Starting with education is paramount, followed by enabling capabilities that drive hands on keys experimentation. This ensures learning by doing while also creating optionalities that are both prudent and pragmatic.”

AI offers great potential for broad societal benefits, but requires a balanced approach to safeguard against potential risks. Laurent Domb, enterprise technologist for AWS Federal Financials, moderated a panel on equitable AI with industry experts across academia, government, and the private sector. Panelists emphasized the importance of defining what “responsible” and “equitable” mean in terms of AI. Henry Jia, a senior AI/ML specialist at AWS, highlighted that we need visibility to broader data usage patterns and day-to-day challenges to ensure more of the population is represented in AI model training.

Saurav Sharma, leader of strategic engagement and programs for AWS Federal Financials, led the final panel of the day, focusing on data strategies for financial services in the age of AI. Data cannot be an afterthought in the journey to AI. Data is what makes AI valuable, and without it, we can’t make the most of this tremendous technology. Panelists also discussed the importance of workforce training and education, as well as developing the next generation of students and financial services experts. Diversity of thought creates new solutions.

The day concluded with a networking reception, where attendees could meet one-on-one with experts for live AWS AI demonstrations. The Federal Financial Services AI Forum served as a significant opportunity to share knowledge, foster collaboration, and advance the dialogue on the future of AI in the financial services industry.

The potential of AI is tremendous, but it is important to take its potential risks into account. Collaboration between the public and private sectors is crucial to maintaining the integrity of our financial systems, and also allowing innovation to flourish. AWS is committed to having these imperative conversations with customers throughout 2024 and beyond.

Olivia Peterson

Olivia Peterson

Olivia is the director of Amazon Web Services (AWS) Federal Financial Services. She is responsible for enabling financial regulators, monetary agency, and housing and mortgage customers to deliver mission value and innovate with AWS. Olivia leads a cross-functional organization of specialists who guide customers in building a secure and scalable AWS foundation, harnessing the power of their data, and mitigating risk through automation. She frequently provides thought leadership on cloud strategy and trends across financial services as a public speaker.