It is likely that in the longer-term future, humans will play even less of a role in guiding financial decisions; this has been dubbed as the “robo-advisor” for both consumer and business applications. Thomas Davenport, whom I had the privilege of speaking with recently, wrote a great article for Harvard Business Review called “Wall Street Jobs Won’t Be Spared from Automation” which outlines this.
However, in the near future humans will still be quite useful and, in fact, depended upon. Before we get to the “robo-advisor” we will first have to transition to the “robo-human advisor.” That is, humans working closely with their software counterparts to make decisions, spot trends, comb through news and analyze information. Although we are making tremendous progress in areas around automation and AI, we have to remember that in order for technology to scale and make an impact, other things are required. For example, rules and regulations, developing an infrastructure, human acceptance, implementation, security and ethics, privacy and other issues all need to be explored before the “robo-advisor” becomes the de facto “employee” in all major investment banks. Humans are still useful!
In this scenario humans play a few crucial roles.
- Human security check: Putting 100 percent reliance in technology does not seem realistic or plausible in the next 3-5 years. Instead, humans will act as a type of safety mechanism to make sure that the suggestions provided by AI, algorithmic decision-making, actually make sense.
- Programming the programs: The next evolution of financial professional will be quite adept at understanding how AI works, how to customize and program it to deliver the optimal results and how to properly leverage AI for maximum benefit. Part of this means that traders, advisors and analysts will have to know how to ask AI the right questions in order to get back the best answers.