We’re not afraid of the big bad robot

Replacement Of Humans By Machines

With technology developing at higher speeds than we can comprehend and infiltrating every aspect of our daily lives, it was only a matter of time before our very livelihood as professional service providers was targeted.

Financial services in Australia appear to be looking down the barrel of a robo-advice revolution, with new platforms popping up constantly and the first platform to gain MDA capability set to launch later this year.

Even the tradition-laden legal industry isn’t immune, with an influx of online platforms over recent years offering simple document production or answers to legal queries.

As we face an increasingly digital world – and come to understand that it’s not going away– there’s a mixture of emotions and questions: Does this new technology threaten my livelihood? Do I need to change my business model to compete/keep up with these developments? What is the opportunity to use this technology to my clients’ and my business’ benefit?

It’s this final question that gets me really excited. While the media likes to paint a doom-and-gloom picture of advisers withering away at the hands of new technologies, I don’t believe that to be true. And according to the Midwinter Robo-Advice Survey, neither do the majority of advisers.

These new technologies are a way to improve our businesses as professional advisers. We can become more efficient with our time and the turnaround of some of the more commoditised outputs we all deal with.

That said, there is in no world that I see in which robo-technologies will replace human interaction and interpretation. They can’t see the underlying issues that the client isn’t telling them, they can’t offer an ear to listen or a touch to console, and they can’t add value by discussing other areas, such as estate planning, that a client may need to consider.

In my opinion there is, and always will be, a space for technology and personal service to combine to achieve the best possible outcomes for clients. Rather than being replaced, our businesses will flourish as the tedium of document production and processes is replaced with time spent working on our businesses, building relationships and adding value to our clients’ lives.

That is, until artificial intelligence is perfected…

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