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The CEO of $38 billion UIPath says the company's next big thing is automating the world of high finance with 'semantic AI' (PATH)

Published by Business Insider on Thu, 10 Jun 2021

<p><img src="https://static1.businessinsider.com/image/60c22a6f6d855e0018157530-2243/GettyImages-1143993288.jpg" border="0" alt="GettyImages 1143993288" data-mce-source="BERTRAND GUAY/AFP via Getty Images)" data-mce-caption="Daniel Dines is the CEO of UIPath."></p><p></p><bi-shortcode id="summary-shortcode" data-type="summary-shortcode" class="mceNonEditable" contenteditable="false">Summary List Placement</bi-shortcode><p>Moments before he gave the first post-IPO earnings call for his $38 billion automation company, UIPath CEO Daniel Dines told Insider what he thinks the next big thing in artificial intelligence will be: Quickly translating raw data into "information people understand."&nbsp;</p><p>That use of what is known as semantic AI could revolutionize the financial world, experts say, and Dines wants his company to lead that revolution.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>"Our vision is bringing more and more semantic automation into the picture," Dines said in a call on Tuesday. "We believe this will unlock tremendous opportunities with resources and information that people can actually understand."</p><p>UIPath's stock <a href="https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/uipath-down-9-after-reporting-q1-results-1030505481">slipped some 9% on Tuesday after its first earnings call, despite the company exceeding expectations</a> and achieving annual recurring revenue of $653 milliona 64% year-over-year increase. The stock had gained back some ground by the close of market on Thursday, and is now up some 6% from its IPO price of $69.</p><p>UIPath already automates mundane office tasks with robotic softwarebut Dines' vision would take the company much further, and he says it's ready to take the shot. "Our tech is able to get close to that," he told Insider. The company may also be well positioned to pursue what he sees as a wide-open frontier.&nbsp;</p><p>"Semantic automation will help improve customer experience between banks and consumers, as robots increasingly assist humans to deliver faster, targeted more timely responses," Dines said in a followup statement to Insider after earnings. "Robots will finally eliminate human error in banking procedures by acting as a real-time partner."</p><p>Semantic artificial intelligence can grasp the context of information, and apply its meaning to new situations, but it has been a developing field that has trailed behind the AI processing of structured data, like spreadsheets. When AI can scan and understand the meaning of financial reports and documents, automation such as UIPath builds could be able to act on it by giving financial or business advice immediately.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>That appeal to financial companies is key to the company's strategy, Dines said. He moved the company, founded in his native Romania in 2005, to NYC "in the center of the financial world," Dines says, which he calls "one of the best decisions I've made."&nbsp;</p><p>Dines told Insider that his company intends to chase that opportunity down, and ahead of the pack. "Technology has made it possible for finance organizations to get more data faster and with more detail than ever before," Dines said. He wants UIPath to cut down on how quickly data can be translated into actionable information, which he called "perhaps the most critical success factor."</p><p>The financial world appears to share Dines' vision of automating semantic dataletting AI read financial reports, and letting robots create new, readable information out of it. <a href="https://www.aclweb.org/anthology/2020.finnlp-1.pdf">Harvard Business School research</a> from earlier this year titled "A Semantic Approach to Financial Fundamentals" found that current AI approaches "may shroud key semantic information about firm activity," but "with this semantically informed approach, we seek to develop rich information sources for broader financial applications."</p><p>This would mean AI making sense of new financial data and translating it into financial advice, among other use cases.&nbsp;</p><p>Dines' vision is important because it indicates where a breakout company in a booming sector will go next. UIPath is the top company in its industry of robotic process automation (RPA), <a href="https://www.uipath.com/blog/gartner-magic-quadrant-rpa-report">according to Gartner</a>, which pegs that market at $2 billion this year. The RPA industry, which includes UIPath competitors like Automation Anywhere, Microsoft, and Blue Prism, takes data and puts it into action for companies. In the past that action has been somewhat limited to menial tasks, like scanning PDFs or combining spreadsheets, but a labor shortage has pushed RPA to new heights in areas like finance.&nbsp;</p><p>Gartner notes that "Leading RPA software vendors have successfully targeted chief financial officers (CFOs) and chief operating officers (COOs), instead of IT alone."&nbsp;</p><p>RPA expert Craig Le Clair, a VP and principal analyst at Forrester Research, and author of "<a href="https://www.amazon.com/Invisible-Robots-Quiet-Night-Restructure/dp/1097336921">Invisible Robots in the Quiet of the Night: How AI and Automation Will Restructure the Workforce,"</a>&nbsp;told Insider that Dines' vision is on the money. "I definitely agree with him. Using AI to, for instance, create financial advice out of unstructured data is something we cannot do today at scale. I am very high on that," said Le Clair.</p><p><a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/uipath-semantic-ai-automation-ceo-earnings-robots-2021-6#comments">Join the conversation about this story &#187;</a></p> <p>NOW WATCH: <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/racist-origins-marijuana-prohibition-legalization-2018-2">How racism contributed to marijuana prohibition in the US</a></p>
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