May 24, 2024


European Union bureaucracy might not conjure the most exciting of connotations. However, being part of the “infinity team” surely puts a superhero-esque spin on your average Frankfurt grey high-rise working day. 

Minute takers watch out. After surveying employees on where deploying generative AI could be most effective, the ECB’s newly established working group has launched nine trials, the results of which could speed up day to day activities of the financial institution.

Large language models, the organisation says, could be deployed for tasks including writing draft codes, test out software faster, summarising supervision documents, drafting briefings, and “improving text written by staff members making the ECB’s communication easier to understand for the public.” 

The Central Bank’s chief service officer, Myriam Moufakkir, discussed the ECB’s use of AI on Thursday, in an organisation blog post. (To be perfectly straight, she doesn’t mention the “infinity team” by name, but other reports submit this to be the assigned designation.)

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Commenting on the ECB’s core work of analysing vast amounts of data, Moufakkir said, “​​AI offers new ways for us to collect, clean, analyse, and interpret this wealth of available data, so that the insights can feed into the work of areas like statistics, risk management, banking supervision, and monetary policy analysis.”

Existing ECB applications of AI

Moufakkir said that the ECB is already deploying AI in a number of areas. This includes data collection and classification, as well as applying web scraping and machine learning to understand price setting dynamics and inflation behaviour. 

Furthermore, it applies natural language processing models trained with supervisory feedback to analyse documents related to banking supervision. This is done through its in-house Athena platform, which helps with topic classification, sentiment analysis, dynamic topic modelling, and entity recognition. It also uses AI to translate documents into member state languages. 

“Naturally, we are cautious about the use of AI and conscious of the risks it entails,” Moufakkar further noted. “We have to ask ourselves questions like ‘how can we harness the potential that large language models offer in a safe and responsible manner?’, and ‘how can we ensure proper data management?’.”

Without specifying exactly how, she added that the ECB was looking into “key questions” in the fields of data privacy, legal constraints, and ethical considerations. With the EU’s landmark AI Act in the works, the use of financial data of its citizens should be a particularly intriguing landscape to navigate. 


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