Podcast

BofA’s Bessant on responsible AI, cyberattacks and data encryption

Cathy Bessant, Bank of America’s chief operations and technology officer, offers her takeaways from the first meeting of the Council on the Responsible Use of Artificial Intelligence. She also shares some challenges banks are facing with cyberattacks and data encryption.

Cathy Bessant, Bank of America's chief operations and technology officer, came away from the first meeting of the Council on the Responsible Use of Artificial Intelligence at Harvard University with pages of notes and a sense of excitement.

The council — an initiative of hers that BofA is funding — is tasked with investigating how to ensure that the use of AI does not end up creating a lot of harmful unintended consequences.

Bessant shares some of her takeaways from the council's initial discussion in this podcast.

She also talks about the areas where BofA is applying the technology, from predicting how to serve customers to improving risk management.

As for how far along the use of AI is at this point, it all depends on the perspective. "In some ways, we're very far along, and in some ways, we're at the very beginning of the artificial intelligence revolution, if that's not too much a superlative," says Bessant, who tops our list of the Most Powerful Women in Banking.

Other topics she covers include how "remarkably affordable" it is for anyone to launch a sophisticated cyberattack these days — "You probably have enough money in your wallet today to launch an attack yourself," she says — and the future of data encryption.