A Singapore-based startup thinks artificial intelligence could help financial companies avoid that kind of trouble. Silent Eight says its technology uses AI and machine learning to identify and halt illegal transactions before they happen.
The company is the brainchild of Martin Markiewicz. The trained mathematician founded Silent Eight when he moved to Southeast Asia from Poland about five years ago.
Markiewicz claims artificial intelligence is better than the methods banks currently use. They often rely on staff manually checking lists of individuals and companies facing sanctions or under criminal investigation.
“Global banks look at millions of suspicious transactions every year, so it’s a very inefficient way of keeping the bad guys out of the financial system,” he said. With AI, “you can do it much faster and you’re not exposed to human error.”
“No one wants to be the bank that’s caught financing North Korea’s nuclear program,” Markiewicz said.
Silent Eight’s system works by collecting and analyzing data from thousands of documents and other sources, getting smarter and more effective as it does so, according to the company.
The startup initially considered setting up operations in London or Tokyo before settling on Singapore. Markiewicz said the team chose the city-state for its ease of doing business, use of the English language and the good reputation of its financial regulator.
Banks are taking an interest in what the company offers.
A Standard Chartered spokesman declined to provide details on how the bank is using Silent Eight’s technology.
Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation, a big Singaporean bank, is also using Silent Eight’s technology. Markiewicz said several other financial institutions around the world are trialing the technology or are in discussions about deploying it.