Using machine learning to revolutionize banking

As the Chief Information Officer for Capital One Financial, Rob Alexander understands the importance of a strong information technology foundation.

“I'm quantitative by nature,” Alexander said, “I’m fascinated by the application of data, analytics and machine learning in business.”

Under his leadership, Capital One became the first bank that allowed customers to pay bills and access financial information through Amazon voice-enabled technologies, including Echo and Fire TV. Capital One also recently sponsored a UVA Data Science Institute Capstone project in which students hope to develop an algorithm to prevent credit card fraud.

Alexander is encouraged by the practical applications of data science, in his professional work and beyond.

“I’m inspired by leveraging data to create powerful customer experiences, which are customized and anticipate customer needs.”

Alexander, a Harvard Business School graduate, believes that machine learning will be key to the future of banking because it enables better decisions and more customized solutions.

“Machine learning represents a revolution in business,” he said, “it will be powered by massive amounts of data, streaming in real time.”

Aside from his work with data science in the financial sector, Alexander also served four years in the United States Air Force. He said that the most thrilling thing he has ever done is fly an F-4 Phantom fighter jet.

Alexander has other interests as well, including literature and history. The last book he read was James Glickman’s Crossing Point.

“I’m interested in U.S. History,” Alexander said, “and this is a great historical fiction novel about the Revolutionary War.”

In terms of the future of data science, Alexander sees explosive growth and innovation, especially in machine learning and artificial intelligence.