The smartphone payments business Ant Financial is using computer vision, natural language processing, and mountains of data to reimagine banking, insurance, and more.
If you get into a car accident in China, you can simply pull out your smartphone, take a photo, and file an insurance claim with an AI system. That system, from Ant Financial, will automatically decide how serious the ding was and process the claim accordingly with an insurer. It shows how the company—which already operates a hugely successful smartphone payments business in China—aims to upend many areas of personal finance using machine learning and AI. The e-commerce giant Alibaba created Ant in 2014 to operate Alipay, a ubiquitous mobile payments service in China. If you have visited the country in recent years, then you have probably seen people paying for meals, taxi rides, and a whole lot more by scanning a code with the Alipay app.