Event replay: Innovating Responsibly with ML and Data Science in Financial Services

Oct 18, 2023 | 10:30 PM UTC | Chicago, Illinois
Join us for a deep dive into different facets of AI/ML and data science in financial services.
Discover Technology Staff
September 26, 2023

Join us for a deep dive into different facets of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and data science in financial services at the Discover 606 Chicago office, co-hosted with AICamp. Learn more about how we are innovating responsibly and applying these emerging technologies to the work we do every day at Discover in a series of lightning talks. Additionally, attend for the chance to network with data science talent across the Chicago-land area while enjoying good food and beverages and taking away some awesome swag.

Lightning Talks

Machine learning in fraud detection and anti-money-laundering at Discover (Ben Zhang)

At Discover, ML plays a crucial role in fortifying fraud detection and anti-money laundering efforts. Attend this talk to learn how we harness advanced algorithms and data analytics to create effective ML models that can scrutinize intricate transaction patterns and swiftly pinpoint deviations and potential instances of fraud. In turn, these models continuously learn from historical data, adapting to emerging threats and evolving tactics. Find out how through the integration of ML, DFS strengthens its ability to identify and mitigate fraudulent activities, safeguard its financial ecosystem and promote secure transactions.

Responsible AI in Financial Sector (Arjun Ravi Kannan)

Join us as we explore the evolution of ML methodologies and discuss the importance of explainability of bias quantification and mitigation in financial services. Our conversation will begin with a brief background of various regulations in financial services and how using ML creates new challenges in this space. Following this, we will have an in-depth discussion on research methods developed by Discover to address these challenges. At the conclusion of this session, you will understand how the approaches developed by Discover can be applied broadly to other areas that use ML models, such as healthcare.

Machine Learning Platform: Why they are important for Data and Decision Science (Shannon Schultz)

Sit in on this technology-focused talk about how automation and scalability are key to the successful implementation of decisions that create value across our organization. During this session, we will cover why leveraging a platform approach is key in the financial industry.

Technical Innovation in Financial Services (Jonathan Stoyko)

Especially at a large company in the financial industry, being innovative can feel like a tall order. You're a technical expert, you have great ideas, you've built some cool stuff on your own time, but how do you realize those ideas to transform your day to day? At Discover, we strive to leverage innovation to transform our products, the way we work, and improve the employee experience. Come learn from a few quick innovation success stories, and walk away with a framework for the next step in your innovation journey.


  • 5:30-6pm CT: Networking & food/drinks
  • 6-6:10 CT: DNA & DTA intro and welcome
  • 6:10-7pm CT: Lightning Talks & Q&A
  • 7-7:30pm CT: Additional networking

Intended Audience

Anyone interested in gaining knowledge about how ML and data science are leveraged in a large financial services company context, as well as opportunities for innovation in these areas.


Arjun Ravi Kannan, Director, Data Science Research & Development

Arjun Ravi Kannan leads the data science/machine learning (ML) research function at Discover. His team focuses on fundamental research in areas such as ML explainability and bias/fair Lending research and has multiple papers (some published in top journals) and pending patents in these areas. His team also develops and explores the use of advanced ML algorithms such as Graphs, Deep Learning, Reinforcement Learning and Unsupervised Learning methods in financial services applications. He has been with Discover for more than 8 years in progressive roles in both risk management and behavioral modeling. He holds a PhD (ABD) in Finance from the Kellogg School of Management (Northwestern University), an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore and B.Tech from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras.

Ben Zhang, Vice President, Data Science

Ben Zhang is Vice President of Data Science at Discover where he manages a team of modeling and analytics experts who support the company's efforts to detect and prevent money laundering, fraud, and collection activities. Ben has more than 15 years of modeling leadership experience in the financial services industry. Prior to Discover, Ben served on the Large Institution Supervision Coordinating Committee (LISCC) in the Capital Division of the Board of Reserve and Dedicated Supervisory Team at Chicago Fed. There, he led stress testing examinations of leading national banks and oversaw the Model Risk Management function across multiple institutions. Ben holds a Ph.D. in Management Science (Marketing and Quantitative Methods) from the University of Texas at Dallas, where his dissertation was published in the Review of Marketing Science. In addition, he has taught Risk Analytics as an Adjunct Lecturer at Northwestern University.

Jonathan Stoyko, Sr. Manager, Technology Capabilities & Innovation (TCI)

Jonathan leads the Strategic Projects function within TCI, responsible for providing management consulting, process improvement, and program leadership services across Discover. His team led the formation of Discover's Developer Experience function, and is currently fostering Generative AI use cases through the Innovation Ideation Hub. Prior to Discover, Jonathan led the Business Analytics Consulting function with Allstate's Data Science organization after also leading Allstate's Industrial Engineering team.

Shannon Schultz, Director, Data & Analytics Engineering

Shannon Schultz is an engineering leader at Discover, currently focused on providing technology solutions for our data science and decision science communities supporting Card and Bank. She has been with Discover for 16 years and have held multiple roles in the areas of application, data, and cloud technologies. Prior to joining Discover, Shannon was previously an engineer at Stats, LLC & The University of Illinois. Shannon received a B.S. in Applied Computer Science from Illinois State University. She currently live in Chicago and enjoy checking out new places or even playing tourist for a day. In her free time, Shannon loves going to concerts and traveling.


Discover Financial Services & AICamp


The meetup will be held at Discover Financial Services 606 office 350 West Wolf Point Plaza Chicago, 60654 Near the Merchandise Mart