SST Awards 2018: Best AI Technology—Digital Reasoning

Tim Estes and Roz Savage

The best artificial intelligence (AI) technology category has been around for two years, and in both instances it is Digital Reasoning that has taken home the top honor. Digital Reasoning’s Synthesys platform incorporates AI—from natural-language processing to deep-learning algorithms—to derive actionable information for risk and compliance, to monitor for fraud, and to provide customer insights. 

The platform “learns” human communication, in textual form, audio and through images. It sifts through vast quantities of unstructured data—across multiple languages and domains—to derive intent and human behavior, says Tim Estes, president and founder of Digital Reasoning. “It completes the picture of looking at textual language, audio language, and starting to have a full communications capability to satisfy both risk and revenue-oriented use-cases,” he says. “We think that’s Digital Reasoning’s primary differentiation: We think that understanding people begins with understanding what they want and what they say—everything else is metadata, and that’s commoditized. So when we look at understanding people, we think it has to be about understanding intents and behaviors.”

In March, the vendor raised $30 million in a new funding round, led by BNP Paribas, but which also included Barclays, Goldman Sachs, Nasdaq, Square Capital, Lemhi Ventures, HCA, and the Partnership Fund for New York City. Digital Reasoning is used by financial services firms, as well as by US defense and intelligence agencies, and healthcare providers to diagnose disease. 

Banks use Synthesys to identify customer complaints, find cross-sell and up-sell opportunities, to improve their know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) processes, and to meet regulatory demands stemming from Dodd–Frank, the revised Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (Mifid II) and the Market Abuse Regulation (MAR), and to oversee the entire trade lifecycle and provide an analysis of trade intent. 

The platform is also being deployed to help firms adhere to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which went live as this magazine went to press. “It’s relatively easy to say someone has a strong relationship with someone else because of the amount of times they call each other, but what they say—looking at personal compared to business—is interesting. And there are ways to characterize conversations and classify them and categorize them without giving up the content. So in the GDPR world, which we’re moving into, it’s important to know the difference between a personal communication and a professional one,” Estes says. 

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