We’re often sold the idea that AI solutions and automated systems – increasingly employed in banking, retail, food service and many other spheres – will makes processes more efficient and improve customer service.
But it seems to me that they just make things harder.
Don't get me wrong – such solutions have improved greatly in recent years. A decade or so ago, I remember calling up a bank and asking an automated system for a PIN reminder. The saga is not worth going into in detail, but put it this way: I was on the phone for a very long time.
So I've no doubt AI will have its uses. But I have a question: where have all the humans gone? Because trying to find one is becoming an increasingly difficult task.
Automation and AI is already threatening physical jobs. Take a look at car manufacturing, wholesale industries and retail to name a few. Research by PricewaterhouseCoopers has found that 30% of jobs in the UK could be at “high risk” of automation by the early 2030s.
But the rise of the robots not only threatens physical jobs. It is also dehumanising the relationship between business and customer, a problem that's becoming increasingly prevalent in banking.
As companies strive to harness technology to 'maximise efficiencies', the popularity of virtual assistants is on the rise. We're increasingly seeing it in the world of customer services, whereby banking customers find themselves speaking to a bot, not a person.
It's here where there's a big problem, I feel. Machine learning certainly has its place in understanding some mainstream consumer requirements. But it's when it falls into the sphere of money that
I think we have a big problem, because personal finance is exactly that: personal.
Banking cuts to the core of our everyday lives – it's with us when we go to university, get married, buy a home and lots more. So, when we want to speak to someone about our money, we want someone who gets it, who understands, who's human – just like us. Money is so personal, so subjective, that having a human expert is key.
AI bots might be getting more sophisticated, but I doubt they'll ever be able to truly replicate the human experience. They will only ever be able to give you a pre-defined answer. In this way, engagement with a digital human isn't a conversation. It's a run-through of a script.
Where a financial decision really matters to me, give me an expert, understanding human any day of the week.
SIGN UP TO OUR NEWSLETTER TO RECEIVE MORE NEWS LIKE THIS STORY
Unity Trust Bank provides £1.1m loan for homeless housing
Unity Trust Bank has provided a £1.1m loan to enable The Cornerstone Partnership to purchase 17 properties for the homeless in Coventry...
Holvi sets out plans for European expansion
Small business current account provider Holvi has announced plans to expand its presence across the eurozone, focusing on Ireland, Italy, Belgium, France and the Netherlands...
Collaboration is the new disruption
Collaboration is key. The incumbents undoubtedly have the customers and the new entrants have the technology, so logically the combination of these two factors creates a far greater proposition than either one on its own...
OSB posts 5% loan book growth
OneSavings Bank (OSB) has grown its loan book by 5% in the three months to 31st March 2019, according to its latest trading update...
Investec, Nationwide and The Co-operative Bank awarded £80m of funding
Investec Bank has been awarded £15m from pool B of the Banking Competition Remedies Ltd (BCR) Capability and Innovation Fund (CIF)...
When relationships count, it’s the new entrants who are gaining market share
The theory that some things are often better said in person really does ring true for small- and medium-sized businesses...
Sim Gill appointed to newly created role at Gatehouse
Gatehouse Bank has promoted Sim Gill (pictured above) to the post of intermediary national key account manager...
Hinckley & Rugby partners with Criteria Hub
Hinckley & Rugby Building Society has updated its criteria search system for mortgage intermediaries following a partnership with Criteria Hub...
Aldermore completes integration with vehicle finance business
Aldermore has completed its integration with vehicle finance business MotoNovo Finance...
Metro Bank confirms £350m equity raise plan is ‘well advanced’
Metro Bank has confirmed that it plans to raise around £350m of equity capital to support its growth...
Al Rayan Bank partners with Alexander Hall
Al Rayan Bank has partnered with mortgage broker Alexander Hall...