Feedzai Frontiers: A Platform to Drive Maximum Good from Technology

Feedzai Frontiers is a global speaker series that brings thought leaders, decision makers, and industry titans together at leading conferences around the world to address the most important technological issues facing humankind. Our latest session took place last month at Money20/20 in Las Vegas, where our CEO Nuno Sebastiao joined Sir Richard Branson, the world-renowned business mogul and adventurer, for an insightful and entertaining keynote conversation. Their stage chat was inspiring and informative—a perfect fulfillment of the Feedzai Frontiers Speaker Series mission.

Nuno and Sir Richard kicked off the session with a discussion of an important technology for which they both share a deep love: space travel. Over the course of their careers, they have each contributed to the development of space travel—Nuno as a former engineer for the European Space Agency, and Sir Richard as the founder of Virgin Galactic. Nuno guided the conversation towards the effects of this technology on the end consumer, asking Sir Richard, “How were you able to make it something that will someday be affordable for the mainstream consumer, to make that belief a reality?”

Sir Richard replied that what inspired him wasn’t a financial goal, but a broad need that wasn’t being met by other institutions.

“I didn’t really go into it thinking that if investing a dollar in space travel, I might get two dollars back. I went into it because as a young man I watched the moon landing on a black and white television set, and I was absolutely sure that one day I would go to space. I was absolutely sure that my children one day would go to space. But after decades went by, I realized that governments were just not interested in you or me or people in this audience going to space. So in 1991 I thought screw that, let’s form a company, and registered Virgin Galactic airways… It’s been 14 years of ups and down, we’ve had tears along the way, but in a handful of weeks, we should be the first commercial space company to have astronauts in space.”

To be able to hear how Sir Richard turned inspiration and a spirit of exploration into a real world application of advanced technology is exactly why we started Feedzai Frontiers.

Why We Started Feedzai Frontiers

We started what eventually became Feedzai Frontiers out of a drive to seek out and explore the most interesting and groundbreaking work in our industry and what that work meant for humankind. We soon found out that people around the world were eager to hear inspiring visions for a future in which the best technology is used in ways that make life truly better for consumers.

It all started in 2016, when Feedzai hosted the Real Machine Summit, a day long gathering of industry experts who shared knowledge and insights with an intimate audience of about 120 guests of Feedzai. The combination of seminar sessions and networking led to some interesting connections and work over the following year. Then in 2017, an audience of about 3,500 people joined us the day before Money20/20 Vegas for our first AI Deep Dive, which brought Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, theoretical physicist Dr. Michio Kaku, and many other AI thought leaders together for what one attendee called a kind of “Davos of artificial intelligence.” Attendees left feeling inspired by what these industry titans were doing with AI, and with a better understanding of how to use this technology in their own work.

Over the last year, we continued to expand Feedzai Frontiers, with events in Amsterdam, Singapore, Lisbon, and more. Speakers have included not only AI experts, but also leaders from the financial industry. Manuela Veloso (head of machine learning and Carnegie Mellon and head of AI at JP Morgan) and Jose Manuel Barroso (former European Commissioner and now Chairman of Goldman Sachs International) have joined us on stage.

In 2019, Feedzai Frontiers events will continue to explore how technology, business, and human progress can intersect. Our goal is that our events will drive not only conversations and connections, but also broadly beneficial actions in the subsequent months and years.

What We’ve Learned Along the Way

After hosting Feedzai Frontiers events in different countries, on different topics, and with a wide array of speakers, we’ve learned a few things. First, there are some amazing technology and advancements, such as AI, that are helping win the war against financial crime and are truly changing the financial ecosystem. But, like Pam Vagata, Data Science lead at Stripe, or Credorax CTO Moshe Selfin showed at past Feedzai Frontiers events, we are only scratching the surface of how technology will alter banking and commerce in the years to come.

Another thing we’ve learned is that there are some serious ethical concerns about AI and its use within the financial realm that need to be addressed. We were honored to have the late Professor Stephen Hawking make his final public address at a Feedzai Frontiers event, where he made very clear his hope that the world would address the ethical challenges of AI as it develops in order to assure that it benefits all of humanity. Conversations such as these have reinforced our belief that it is only by openly discussing those topics will we surface solutions that create a world where people are better off because of new technology.

Most importantly, we’ve found that events that showcase the brightest minds, visions of dramatically different futures, and concrete ideas for turning visions into reality inspire people to push boundaries in their own work and to maximize their contribution to humanity.

In the end, that’s what Feedzai stands for and why Feedzai Frontiers is such an important initiative for us. Feedzai’s mission is to make commerce safe, but the driving force that keeps us going is knowing that when our AI technology keeps consumers safe from financial crime, it’s not just commerce that flows, but also ideas, values, and humanity itself.