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Bernard Marr

Bernard Marr is a world-renowned futurist, influencer and thought leader in the fields of business and technology, with a passion for using technology for the good of humanity. He is a best-selling author of over 20 books, writes a regular column for Forbes and advises and coaches many of the world’s best-known organisations. He has a combined following of 4 million people across his social media channels and newsletters and was ranked by LinkedIn as one of the top 5 business influencers in the world.

Bernard’s latest books are ‘Future Skills’, ‘The Future Internet’, ‘Business Trends in Practice’ and ‘Generative AI in Practice’.

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Bernard Marr ist ein weltbekannter Futurist, Influencer und Vordenker in den Bereichen Wirtschaft und Technologie mit einer Leidenschaft für den Einsatz von Technologie zum Wohle der Menschheit. Er ist Bestsellerautor von 20 Büchern, schreibt eine regelmäßige Kolumne für Forbes und berät und coacht viele der weltweit bekanntesten Organisationen. Er hat über 2 Millionen Social-Media-Follower, 1 Million Newsletter-Abonnenten und wurde von LinkedIn als einer der Top-5-Business-Influencer der Welt und von Xing als Top Mind 2021 ausgezeichnet.

Bernards neueste Bücher sind ‘Künstliche Intelligenz im Unternehmen: Innovative Anwendungen in 50 Erfolgreichen Unternehmen’

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How Mastercard Uses AI Strategically: A Case Study

1 July 2024

In the ever-evolving landscape of financial technology, Mastercard stands out as a pioneering force in leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to drive innovation and operational efficiency. This case study delves into how Mastercard strategically applies AI, scales its applications, and maintains robust governance processes to ensure responsible and impactful use of this transformative technology.

How Mastercard Uses AI Strategically: A Case Study | Bernard Marr

Mastercard's Strategic Use Of AI

Mastercard has long recognized the transformative potential of AI. According to Ed McLaughlin, President and CTO of Mastercard, "AI has been an essential capability for Mastercard for years now, and we see it only increasing in importance and impact." The company has seamlessly integrated AI into its core operations, enhancing both the security and personalization of its services.

One of the primary ways Mastercard utilizes AI is through its decision management platform, which serves as the AI brain running within its network. This platform enables the company to make real-time, complex decisions on transactions, significantly enhancing fraud detection and prevention. McLaughlin highlighted, "In the last 12 months, we've stopped over $20 billion worth of fraud."

Choosing The Right AI Applications

The strategic application of AI at Mastercard is not a matter of chance but a result of a meticulous decision-making process. The company employs a two-tiered review mechanism to evaluate AI opportunities: an AI review board and a subsequent deep technical review.

The AI review board consists of experts from various domains, including legal, privacy, product, and business. This board assesses the intent, data provenance, and ethical implications of potential AI projects. McLaughlin explained, "We start with legal, privacy, product, business intent, and that is really important to understand—what are we trying to do here? Should we do it? Can we do it?"

Once a project passes the initial review, it undergoes a rigorous technical evaluation. This involves assessing the scalability, ROI, and operational efficiency of the proposed AI application. "If it doesn't scale, it doesn't matter," McLaughlin emphasized, highlighting the importance of scalability in AI initiatives.

Scaling AI Across The Organization

Mastercard's approach to scaling AI involves silent mode validation, where new AI techniques are tested in parallel with existing systems. This method allows the company to measure the impact and efficacy of AI without disrupting current operations. McLaughlin noted, "We can run this in production in parallel with what we already have and then decide if the delta is worth the additional expense."

To ensure that AI initiatives can be effectively scaled, Mastercard invests heavily in training and upskilling its workforce. The company has established specialized workbenches for different roles, such as software engineering, data science, and sales, to provide tailored AI tools and training. "We are saying, what’s the right level of investment in data science, engineering workbench, generative and otherwise? How do you tailor it to your environment?" McLaughlin said.

Governance And Ethical Considerations

Governance plays a crucial role in Mastercard's AI strategy. The company has implemented a comprehensive AI governance framework to oversee the ethical and responsible use of AI. This framework includes continuous monitoring, compensating controls, and feedback loops to ensure ongoing model efficacy and to mitigate unintended consequences.

Mastercard is also a founding member of the Harvard Council for the Responsible Use of AI, reflecting its commitment to ethical AI practices. McLaughlin stressed, "We published a data bill of rights to our consumers: your data is your data. You have the right to know what data we have from you, how we’re using that data."

The company's governance processes ensure that all AI applications align with its core principles and regulatory requirements. This involves regular reviews and updates to its AI models to address concept drift and other challenges that may arise over time.

Looking Ahead: The Future of AI At Mastercard

Mastercard continues to explore new AI technologies and their potential applications. McLaughlin discussed the impact of generative AI and quantum computing on the company's future strategies. "We are looking at quantum computing both from a security perspective and as a means to solve complex combinatorial problems that are beyond the reach of classical computing."

Mastercard's forward-thinking approach ensures that it remains at the forefront of technological innovation while maintaining the trust and confidence of its customers. The company's strategic use of AI not only enhances its current operations but also positions it to tackle future challenges and opportunities in the financial technology sector.

Mastercard's strategic application of AI serves as a powerful example for other organizations looking to harness the potential of this technology. Through a well-defined governance framework, rigorous review processes, and a commitment to ethical practices, Mastercard ensures that its AI initiatives deliver significant value while upholding the highest standards of responsibility and integrity. As AI continues to evolve, Mastercard's proactive and strategic approach will undoubtedly keep it at the cutting edge of innovation in the financial industry.

Business Trends In Practice | Bernard Marr
Business Trends In Practice | Bernard Marr

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Bernard Marr is a world-renowned futurist, influencer and thought leader in the fields of business and technology, with a passion for using technology for the good of humanity.

He is a best-selling author of over 20 books, writes a regular column for Forbes and advises and coaches many of the world’s best-known organisations.

He has a combined following of 4 million people across his social media channels and newsletters and was ranked by LinkedIn as one of the top 5 business influencers in the world.

Bernard’s latest book is ‘Generative AI in Practice’.

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