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Goldman Sachs developing dozen generative AI projects, exec says at Reuters NEXT

George Lee, co-head of the office of applied innovation for Goldman Sachs, speaks during the ReutersNEXT Newsmaker event in New York City, New York, U.S., Nov. 9, 2023. (REUTERS/Brendan McDermid)
Goldman Sachs delivers compelling remarks at Reuters Next conference in NYC
By Saeed Azhar and David French | REUTERS

Goldman Sachs is working on a dozen projects which will incorporate generative artificial intelligence into its business practices, a senior executive at the Wall Street giant told the Reuters NEXT conference in New York on Thursday.

Among the most mature of the projects include writing code in English-language commands, and being able to generate documentation, said George Lee, co-head of Goldman’s office of applied innovation.

None of the projects are directly client facing, such as where the bank delivers financial advice to customers, because of the regulated nature of financial services, he added.

“We’re moving very deliberately, very carefully, very thoughtfully,” said Lee, who jointly leads Goldman’s new global institute offering clients advice on the intersection of geopolitics, technology and markets.

Companies, including banks, are grappling with the potential advantages which generative AI can provide their businesses, but also how to manage the challenges the new technology creates.

Rival Morgan Stanley is rolling out a generative AI bot that helps financial advisers find research or sift through thousands of forms. The tool was developed with OpenAI, the makers of ChatGPT.

JPMorgan Chase is also developing software that uses AI to select investments.

Lee told Reuters NEXT that while the technology and its potential was “thrilling”, there still needs to be a “human in the loop” to manage what is going on and intervene where necessary.

The fact that generative AI can offer responses to financial questions also means that, for those providing advice professionally, they need to do more to earn the fees they charge clients.

“It’s a fascinating forcing function for businesses to recognize they need to raise the bar for the services they deliver to clients,” said Lee.

Generative AI has drawn huge interest from investors, aiming to back those companies at the forefront of the technological innovation. However, unlike previous investment waves in other cutting-edge sectors, venture capitalists are facing a world where existing tech giants are heavily involved in many of the early platforms, limiting their ability to deploy cash.

“There’s a real dilemma that venture capitalists feel about where and how to invest in this game as it looks like, in the early going, the first-order beneficiaries are largely big companies and big platform companies,” said Lee.
“Given how early we are, I think, as the wheel turns here, there will be more and more exciting opportunities for venture capitalists, but it’s kind of a controversial thing in (Silicon Valley) right now.”

Editor’s note: Reporting by Saeed Azhar and David French in New York; Editing by Daniel Wallis

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