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
Santander to close 140 branches
Santander has announced that it plans to close 140 branches in the UK as it reshapes its branch network...
British Business Bank UK Network aims to improve funding awareness across UK
The British Business Bank UK Network will help to improve awareness of funding options across the UK by directly approaching business finance professionals...
Building with confidence in challenging times
It is difficult to think of a time in the past three decades when the chasm between the interests of UK business and the Palace of Westminster has been more exposed than the Brexit debacle...
Real Property Finance passes £100m in deals with Cambridge & Counties Bank
Cambridge & Counties Bank has provided more than £100m of loans for the clients of Real Property Finance (RPF)...
Metro Bank reports 48% increase in lending
Metro Bank has reported that its lending increased by 48% in 2018 compared with 2017...
Metro Bank appoints Luke Lloyd-Davies to advisory board
Metro Bank has appointed Luke Lloyd-Davies to its advisory board...
OakNorth: how some of the entrepreneurs we’ve lent to first got started
For many, the new year brings with it new possibilities and the chance to explore new opportunities...
Hanley Economic BS to push self-build offering
Hanley Economic Building Society is set to commence an extensive 2019 self-build campaign as it aims to engage with growing numbers of self-builders...
NatWest offers Esme Loans directly to its SME customers
NatWest will now offer Esme Loans products directly to its existing SME customers...
OSB appoints new NED
OneSavings Bank has announced that it has appointed Sarah Hedger as a non-executive director, with effect from 1st February...
Tandem Bank reaches 500,000 customers
Tandem has announced that it has reached 500,000 customers one year on from being granted a full banking licence...