PayPal appoints new CTO amid recent AI services launch

New PayPal CTO will have to deal with the launch and implementation of the company’s new AI powered services.

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PayPal has appointed Srini Venkatesan as its new Chief Technology Officer (CTO) to lead its artificial intelligence initiatives. Venkatesan will be in charge of areas such as AI and machine learning, information security, and product engineering. In his previous position at Walmart, Venkatesan developed platforms to support the retail giant, including aspects of the Walmart+ subscription service. He has also worked at Yahoo and eBay among others.

Why is this important?

Like others in the finance field, PayPal has sought to embrace AI to improve its services. In January, the company announced new AI-driven tools, including some to make payment checkouts smoother. However, other tools use buying history, instead of browsing history, to target clients.

‘Smart Receipts’ uses buying history to recommend products, cashback and other deals on receipts. Similarly, ‘Advanced Offers Platform’ uses AI to deliver targeted promotions based on the customer’s purchase history with any previous merchant. PayPal says it is shifting from general ads to personalised ‘offers’, improving the customer experience.

In an article in PayPal’s newsroom, the company said it is adding simple privacy controls to let customers choose whether to share their data with merchants for personalised offers. However, given that browsing targeted advertising has already caused privacy concerns, it is likely that buying history will do so too. Venkatesan will be expected to implement the tech and answer to these concerns in his new role.