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AI and human synergy: The value of combining Document AI with subject matter experts

In a previous blog, we explained what Document AI technology is and why your business might need it to save valuable time and money spent extracting, analyzing and organizing data from documents. In this blog, we’ll look at how subject matter experts work alongside the technology and the benefits of this approach.

Since the Industrial Revolution in the 1700s, machines have been introduced into the workplace to increase productivity. Back then, it was the invention of steam power that was the catalyst for change. Goods previously made in small batches by hand could be mass-produced in factories through the implementation of steam-powered mechanized production. Fast forward to today, and it’s the service industries that are transforming with the adoption of AI. Solutions powered by AI are changing the way people work in the financial, legal and professional services sectors, making them more efficient and effective.

Say goodbye to costly manual document review

There are many reasons why financial services firms need to gather and analyze data from agreements, contracts, prospectuses, reports and other documents. These include credit risk analysis, regulatory changes, capital optimization, litigation, due diligence, claims handling, financial reporting requirements and industrializing information retrieval for better planning, decision-making and service delivery. In the past, when firms needed to access and understand information buried in their documents, the only option was to read and review their contents manually. The nature, scale and deadline of the exercise would dictate the resources required to complete the review. If you had an internal team with the right specialist knowledge, you could have them review the documents; otherwise, you’d be compelled to hire temporary staff or outsource the work to a legal service provider or consulting firm.

Manual document review may not be too onerous or expensive if you’re dealing with a small number of documents but if you need to review 100s or 1,000s of them, the hours and costs quickly add up. And if the nature of the review requires the judgement of a lawyer, the critical eye of an analyst or the experience of a consultant, then those costs may be excessively high. Thankfully manual document review is no longer a necessity, and Document AI technology can do the heavy lifting in terms of getting to the facts and answers faster and cheaper. It’s now possible to extract information and gather insights from documents on an industrial scale and create or enrich databases to give you full data transparency. And because the relevant subject matter experts train the underlying machine learning model, the Document AI platform systematizes and augments their knowledge in the process.

Say hello to repeatability and increased productivity

By using Eigen’s platform, our clients can scale the specialized knowledge of one or more experts across entire teams. For example, a credit analyst at an investment bank can train Eigen based on their expertise to provide data and answers to questions that are vital to monitoring the performance of loans across an entire portfolio. Or a paralegal at a hedge fund can train the platform to identify all linked contracts and triage them based on their remediation needs to fast-track a LIBOR transition program. In both of these instances, Eigen’s Document AI platform produces a comprehensive set of data for 1000’s of documents utilizing the specific knowledge of the relevant subject matter experts in a fraction of the time it would take to do so manually. The diagram below shows the typical workflow using Document AI.

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Combining advanced natural language processing (NLP) technology with subject matter expertise gives organizations the ability to tap those knowledge sources in a highly efficient way that minimizes the human effort. By reducing the human effort, you take out considerable cost, especially in those circumstances where you would typically employ external experts to review your documents manually. The platform can be trained to handle new documents and data requirements giving you a flexible and scalable solution that can be applied to multiple use cases, further increasing the return on investment. Companies can now afford to extract and organize data from all their documents to give them a near real-time view of previously unknown risks and opportunities. But is the quality and accuracy of data the trade-off when using Document AI technology versus human manual review?

Achieving better data accuracy with machine plus human

As the saying goes, computers are only as good as the data we put into them. They are not 100% accurate. But then neither are humans. Humans are not built for repetition and multitasking. When we perform repetitive or complex tasks that require the same parts of our brain over and over, we become stressed, and our performance suffers as a consequence. We’ve witnessed this first-hand by conducting large-scale exercises in which our platform reviewed hundreds of thousands of documents and benchmarked them against human performance. The exercises showed that human accuracy usually tops out around the 80% mark.

AI doesn’t suffer from the same cognitive impairment that we do when completing repetitive tasks, and AI actually produces better results with more use, ‘learning’ as it processes. By using cutting-edge NLP and machine learning (ML) techniques, Eigen can achieve results way above the 80% accuracy threshold achieved by humans and at a much greater speed. The AI will also ‘own up’ to not knowing something and will flag data points and answers as ‘low confidence’ when it’s unsure. These flagged responses can be easily checked and, if necessary, corrected in the platform. This flagging and follow-up process produces results that are more accurate than human or machine alone. In fact, when a human subject matter expert performs this final review step, the results achievable are closer to the 100% accuracy mark.

The Document AI future is now

AI is transforming the way we work today, enabling businesses to scale-up operations, automate processes and capitalize on new opportunities as steam-power did back in the 18th century. In the case of Document AI, it’s possible to significantly reduce the time, effort and cost involved in reviewing and extracting information from documents. And as a result, your experts can spend more of their time on crucial higher-value work.

Eigen’s platform also facilitates straight-through processing with zero human interaction required post-set-up, giving clients the highest level of process automation possible. This further reduces cost and time for those use cases where data accuracy of less than 100% is acceptable. We’ll talk about straight-through processing in more detail in a future blog.

Want to learn how to systematize the domain expertise of your specialists?
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