Dinis Guarda, tech entrepreneur, author, and recognised thought leader in areas of fintech, metaverse, and Web3.0, interviews Xiaochen Zhang, Founder and CEO of Fintech4Good and the Executive Director of AI2030, in the latest episode of his YouTube Podcast Series. The two discuss how global organisations like Fintech4Good and AI2030 are ensuring the application of technology and innovation for the benefit of humanity. The podcast is powered by Businessabc.net and citiesabc.com.

In his second interview with Dinis Guarda, Xiaochen expresses himself:

From our last conversation when I was at that time still at Fintech4Good, a company that I built after I left the World Bank with the goal was trying to just build emerging tech based ventures and help them solve global problem; one of the problem that was specifically around Central Bank digital currency and how to help central banks to have vehicle to transform the future of finance.

After that, I wanted to start a new chapter in my career, in which I saw the potential of AI, especially the positive and also the negative with it. It's very different from other emerging technologies. This is really the time where humans are fundamentally being impacted by a change and the work itself needs to be redesigned and the society in general will be impacted tremendously. Then I thought about how to do AI responsibly and that's why I started AI2030, trying to build a global movement for responsible AI into the mainstream by 2030.”

Xiaochen Zhang has been leading initiatives to drive innovation and social impact, especially in the areas of blockchain, fintech, and emerging technologies like AI for over 20 years. He has been the Global Head of Innovation & GTM at Amazon Web Services (AWS). where he played a pivotal role in delivering cutting-edge fintech solutions in areas such as digital assets, central bank digital currency, green finance, and regulatory and supervisory technologies.

He has also been involved with global organisations like the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, the International Telecommunication Union, the OMFIF Digital Monetary Institute, OS Climate, and the United Nations ESCAP Women Enterprise Impact Investment Fund, and WBG-IMF Young African Society, to advance the idea of alternative finance, digital currency research. 

Fintech4Good: Leveraging technologies and finance for social good

Xiaochen is the Founder and CEO of FinTech4Good, a global network that collaborates with startups, industry leaders, nonprofits, and investors to harness blockchain, AI, metaverse, and cloud computing for social good.  

In general, there is a shortage of capital, but the bigger problem is the lack of capital; it's more as how to make the capital more efficient and how to match the right capital with the right type of business”, Xiaochen tells Dinis.

The way we do that is really through venture building. We identify the right entrepreneurs and also the corporate problems and then through the incubation acceleration program or venture building process, we help entrepreneurs to leverage emerging technology like blockchain, AI, Metaverse, and other emerging technology to build fintech solutions and then those solutions can be deployed in emerging markets and everywhere that help address sustainable development goal related problem, including poverty reduction, financial inclusion, gender equality, and other SDG related problems.

We build a very strong ecosystem, and many of the startups also graduated from our incubation acceleration program. There are tons of issues other than Capital which the startups are facing and that can be addressed by the ecosystem that we have created. I'm very happy that with the ecosystem we have built, we are able to support many of them in their path.” 

AI2030: Envisioning a responsible use of AI by 2030

Xiaochen serves as the Chief Responsible AI Officer & Executive Director at AI2030, an initiative aimed at harnessing the transformative power of AI to benefit humanity while minimising its potential negative impacts. 

AI is definitely at its early stage in terms of responsible AI adoption, which is at an accelerated speed. This is becoming worrying. If AI is not being developed, researched, or adopted responsibly then the broader societal impact will be tremendous. Although it can fix a lot of problems if AI is not done responsibly from the beginning, the cost of fixing would become so high. 

Many of those risks need to be addressed now and we cannot wait until the problem surfaced on a large scale. So that's why there's an urgency that responsible AI needs to be mainstreamed and that's why we created AI2030.

We focus on: Responsible AI, AI for good, and AI for all. We identify three gaps where we think can add value. The first gap is the awareness. We need to have more individuals, corporates, and public sector leaders that understand the risk of not doing AI responsibly and raising the profile of responsible AI. 

The second is the training or the talent gap. A lot of companies started trying to hire responsible AI officers or chief responsible AI officers. Should this be person to just be you know data scientist or engineer or a compliance person or a legal person or an economist and who can be a responsible AI officer and or specialist that is something we need to create new learning paths for those individuals who have a passion to contribute to responsible AI becoming the future of responsible AI professionals.

The third gap we see is the tooling gap. Any responsible AI can be translated into technical challenges and can be addressed by technical tools. For example, remove Pi data out of the data set to make your AI model explainable. Remove bys from the model and all of them can be translated into technical tools. Those tools currently are not widely available, and even if they are available, it's difficult to be found. So, we are building several initiatives to try for example a responsible marketplace and other tools to try to create how corporate businesses can find responsible AI tools easily and how they can procure them easily and how they can also on board the tools in the most cost-effective way and get the best customer service.”

Global events to create awareness and ensure responsible AI for all

AI2030 Events is a pioneering series of global conferences and symposiums dedicated to exploring the transformative potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and shaping its trajectory towards the year 2030 and beyond. These events bring together an array of visionaries, researchers, industry leaders, policymakers, and AI enthusiasts to engage in thought-provoking discussions, share groundbreaking research, and collaboratively envision the future of AI-driven innovation.

We have a daily show, called the AI2030 show, and we have three round tables called the job of future and monthly event. We also have quarterly conferences. Our next one is the Chicago AI week starting from June 25th to 28th. We have regulators and the financial leaders from big tech and small startups, all coming together to just talk about how AI is transforming business, what are the challenge they face, what are the best practices they have established, and how one sector's experience can be learned by the other, what are the existing you know legal framework for example introduced the in Europe. There's a lot of exciting speakers and conversations which will go into this program. 

The first is the industry day where we have financial services, manufacturing, transport, health care, and we talk about how AI is impacting those or transforming those industries. They learn what challenges other players face within the industry and the best practices to overcome them. The event aims to foster cross industry collaboration. We have the leaders like Chief Innovation Officer of the Federal Reserve, the former EVP of Wells Fargo, and GB of JPMorgan and ChaseGoogleMicrosoft, and all the big names - companies who really are doing something major in the space.

The second day is what we call the impact day. We talk about responsible AI, AI for good, and AI for all. We have the Salesforce impact leader, NVIDIA, Microsoft, and we talk about different ways of how to make AI secure and all that. 

Then day three, and that is the AI Innovation Summit, and that's when we have 39 AI startups in the current AI Innovation lab. 

Then we have the Innovation Summit where that the entrepreneur investors working together and then how you know to solve problem of how they can scale. The last is the Chicago Web3con where we talk about how to use Web3.0 to address trust related issues, to just look at the convergence between AI and blockchain.

Within these four days, we have really a solid you know speaker list with great use cases. I think many of the problems that we have discussed today (in this podcast), you'll be able to find answers during those four days.

After this, we have our next one in London where we collaborate with currency research. The first two days are the digital currency conference and the next two days are the central bank conference and I'm a co-chair of that conference. The last day is the London AI conference with focus on how to leverage AI to address climate change, sustainable finance and ESG related issues.

The last conference of the year is in New York in December where we mostly focus on responsible AI for financial institutions.” Here, Xiaochen also announced the discount code for these events.