Artificial intelligence and Islamic finance education

In my previous report, I wrote about the importance of artificial intelligence (AI) in Islamic finance education. The importance of the information technology is well understood by the major institutions offering Islamic banking and finance postgraduate courses and professional bodies offering certification programs. For example, fintech has been thought as a core subject at the IIUM Institute of Islamic Banking and Finance. On the other hand, the Certificate of Islamic Finance Data Analyst is offered by another professional body to address the needs of Islamic finance professionals competent in the area of data analysis. In this report, I would like to furnish the reader with more information on AI and its implications for Islamic finance.

AI is defined as an area of computer science focused on creating intelligent machines that function like humans. AI computers are designed to perform human functions including learning, decision-making, planning and speech recognition.

AI has been studied for decades and is still one of the most elusive subjects in computer science. This is partly due to how large and nebulous the subject is. AI ranges from machines truly capable of thinking to search algorithms used to play board games. It has applications in nearly every way we use computers in society.

In the near future, AI is predicted to replace humans as companies start looking for features such as machine learning, personal assistants/advisors or digital labor.
Owing to big data, cloud services and hyper processing systems, AI has gained popularity. But the greatest challenges faced are lack of trust, bias and regulatory concerns.
It can be expected in the near future to see companies relying on AI to make significant firm-related decisions. AI also has the capability to identify how customers are going to react to various situations and problems. AI is going to help people and firms make smarter decisions at a very quick pace.
But the key here is to find the right balance between humans and machines.

The merge of AI with finance is known as fintech. Fintech is a new industry that emerged in the 21st century that uses technology to improve activities in finance. Fintech aims to make financial services more accessible to the general public such as the use of smartphones for mobile banking, investing services and retail banking.

Islamic finance by itself adopts a multidisciplinary approach. Technically, the main domains in Islamic finance education are Shariah, law and Islamic economics. However, in today’s technology-driven world, equivalent focus should be given to information technology (IT) subjects. Yet, it is still not clear what should be the best approach or course outline to teach IT subjects for students with a Shariah and finance background. In the next article, I will share how different universities offering Islamic banking and finance programs have adopted IT into their curriculum.

Dr Kamola Bayram is the project director at the International Council of Islamic Finance Educators. She can be contacted at [email protected]

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