Man met machine at this year’s Singapore Fintech Festival.

The line-up at the world’s largest Fintech event was jammed with workshops, exhibitions and keynote speakers. Hosted in Singapore, the festival highlights Fintech opportunities in the ASEAN region.

With over 250 speakers, 450 exhibitors and around 40,000 participants attending, and key topics including AI in Finance, Cyber Security, Tech Risk and the Future of Money, many experienced a data overload. Here are three key downloads:

1. F-AI-nance: AI and machine learning were buzzwords at this year’s festival. The impact of AI is felt foremost in banking and finance. With the rise of mobile platforms and device penetration, banking is changing – driving the financial inclusion of unbanked consumers.

ASEAN youths are reportedly online for 6 hours per day; 65% of the ASEAN population have mobile phones and the majority do not have bank accounts. Yet, only 7% of bank processes are currently digital – a huge gap in the market for high-tech companies to provide innovative platforms for an evolving customer base.

Banks are capitalising on technology to improve customer interaction. ING Bank creates its own Fintech and runs a venture capital company that specifically invests in Fintech while DBS has partnered with Go-Jek to provide regional payments services. Banks will be striving to harness technology over the coming years to create new products and provide customers with an enhanced and intuitive banking experience.

2. A cash-less world: What is the future of cash in this digital banking world? From primitive times to modern day, payment methods have been evolving: from shells to coins, cheques and paper cash to credit cards, then cryptocurrencies. Consumer demand for fast and easy payment solutions is driving the digitalisation of finance. Cashless forces in some countries, such as China, have had such a great effect that some places no longer accept cash.

The advancement and prevalence of technology has hugely impacted customer experience and more changes are afoot. Regulators are actively collaborating with financial institutions and the Fintech community to adapt to these changes and usher in the next digital breakthrough.

For instance, MAS’ regulatory sandbox allows companies to test new products in a live environment while MAS assesses if the product is fit for market. It is no wonder that firms like Google, Amazon and Paypal have set up research laboratories and innovation hubs in Singapore, a financial hub with a robust start-up ecosystem.

3. Man vs Machine: The interaction and relationship between AI and humans was a constant theme.

As we become more reliant on Fintech, AI and cashless transactions, organisations must ensure that they adapt their businesses to fit into the rapidly evolving finance industry and get the best value out of these technologies.

But machines do not mean mankind’s time is over – far from it. The general consensus is that in the long run, digital transformation will have a net positive impact on employment. Ultimately, AI will change the nature of the jobs available which in turn will have evolved to mirror changing technologies.

Digitalisation of finance is here to stay. Here is a clip from the festival, in which my colleagues and I share our further thoughts.