Get to know AIVA: Black Knight's AI initiative to focus on originations

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With its acquisition of artificial intelligence and machine learning developer HeavyWater, Black Knight is turning to its Artificial Intelligence Virtual Assistant to streamline the mortgage process, with an immediate focus on the originations sector.

The company, which acquired the Philadelphia-based startup late last week, aims to eventually get to a place where tech can guide and advise underwriters on potential opportunities and in decision making, according to Rich Gagliano, president of Black Knight's Origination Technologies division.

"AIVA makes the decisions and recommends actually a conclusion, the operator can agree or disagree, and as a result of that two things happen: that activity or that job task gets done, and in certain situations, creates a reinforcement learning for AIVA," said Soofi Safavi, CEO of HeavyWater.

"That activity ultimately will be shadowed by AIVA to be able to actually give her the same level of cognition that a human expert has," he added.

Though AIVA's primary focus for the short term will be on the originations sector, it will also eventually support mortgage servicing. Current use cases for the tech that is in live production include analyzing bank statements and insurance tracking.

Insurance-wise, AIVA can evaluate documents and policy changes and determine whether a property has appropriate coverage concerning things like flood and homeowners insurance.

HeavyWater has also been exploring use cases for its machine learning tech more broadly throughout the industry. It's currently working with LoanLogics to understand its efficiencies and see which skills could be a viable starting point to implement the tech. It will also explore the possibility of incorporating AIVA into the platform.

The company opted not to further build out its company and instead got acquired by Black Knight because of its need for data, according to Safavi.

"Unlike the traditional technology, artificial intelligence or machine learning has significant reliance on data. From the inception of HeavyWater, we had a strategy to be able to access a partnership, collaboration or acquisition of any of what we call 'the centers of gravity' — these are organizations that have a massive dataset as part of their operating model," Safavi said.

"With the combination of our technology and data, we think that we will have significantly more velocity to be able to achieve and get AIVA to the point of being a mortgage expert, versus if we would have done it alone as a startup. I think it will increase the value of the company potentially," he added.

Additional financial details about the acquisition are expected to be disclosed with Black Knight's next quarterly results.

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Artificial intelligence Machine learning Digital mortgages Underwriting M&A Black Knight