Technological development

The new era of data: How everything from machine learning to quantum computing could transform the world of leasing

Digitization of records an important first step into an era of turbocharged technological developments

Heads of leasing companies across Europe are exploring what the latest developments in the online and digital worlds could do for their companies. In a constant race for dominance, coming to understand the sheer power of these inventions could put companies first in the race to effectively utilise them.

Brendan Gleeson, group chief executive officer at the White Clarke Group, dedicated his talk at the Leasing Life conference in the Estonian capital of Tallinn in November 2018 to these topics that are both futuristic and immediate.

On an immediately adoptable level, Gleeson discussed the concept of ‘Tinder for cars’. This is a simplified version of car subscription that boils down to swiping left for cars you have no interesting in leasing, and swiping right for ones you do. Gleeson used this as an example of how simplistic a user interface may have to be in the future, coupled with the complex collection of user data and preferences.

"Customers are waking up to the fact that in terms of digital data is often the most valuable asset."

Quantum computing may ultimately prove to be as much a threat as a beneficiary to leasing and financial institutions as a whole. While the sheer power of these computers might be incredibly useful for companies that need to store and process large amounts of user data, they are also experts in cryptography. According to Gleeson there is potential that a quantum computer could hack in minutes secure systems that would take every normal computer in the world working together thousands of years to solve.

“Articial intelligence is a computer learning what offering it can make to you that you're most likely to accept. A leasing model that can effectively use this has a combination of artificial intelligence and a nice user experience.”

Artificial intelligence is another area undergoing rapid change. Gleeson explained that ‘classic’ AI uses the mass collection of data to learn, while the most recent forms of AI can teach themselves. An example Gleeson used was of AlphaGo, the system created by Google that after thousands of simulations beat the world champion of the Chinese game Go. The most recent iteration, AlphaGoZero, spent three days teaching itself and could then beat AlphaGo every time played. In the words of Gleeson, “this development is the equivalent of a self-driving car that can learn to drive itself.’’

This talk may seem to belong more to the works of Asimov and Dick than at a conference on leasing, but Gleeson made the decision to speak on it because it is quickly becoming a reality. It may also serve as a warning, that the slowest to adopt the most immediately radical of technological advancements will be the furthest behind when they become the norm.