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Washington, DC
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Jo Ann Barefoot explores how to create fair and inclusive consumer financial services through innovative ideas for industry and regulators

A Wonky Week

Blog

A Wonky Week

Jo Ann Barefoot

In the last three days, I brought three new technologies into my life.  I got Windows 10 (and therefore Cortana).  I got Google Photo. And I got an Apple Watch.

The speed with which they are changing me is breathtaking.

Both Siri and Cortana are tending to my every need (and by the way, they are funny).

The watch is gently tapping my wrist with incredibly helpful reminders.

And my photos are creating stories about my life, and even animations (my watch lets me know they are there.)

I've only begun to learn to use all this, but four things strike me about what they mean for financial services.

First, they all take the initiative to offer me help. When fully integrated with financial products, this will close the access gap for the millions of people who don't know where to start or whom to ask.  Help will be offered. Guidance will start where the person is, and go from there.

Second, voice technology will be the financial democratizer. When you can get cheap guidance by having a conversation, the doors open wide for millions of consumers.

Third, they are all using artificial intelligence - neural networks - to think and learn.  They need very little instruction and set up. They are figuring out what I want and need and like, and just getting it for me.

Fourth, they all showed up at the same time. Any one of them alone is transformative.  To have them all arrive together, allinstantly and automatically weaving their activities together for me - did I mention the word "breathtaking"?

Note that they are from three different companies - Microsoft, Google, and Apple. But they are all busily integrating with each other as they orbit around me and my needs. They are consumer-centric, not product-centric.

They reinforce the critical point that new technologies are converging on consumer finance.  Each is huge, alone. When they combine, everything changes. And remember, these are early-stage innovations. They're improving fast.

They are all trying to astonish and delight me, and are succeeding beyond what I could have imagined a week ago. In the past three days, I've probably said the words, "oh wow," a hundred times.

Yes, I know all this will bring lots of new problems. Huge ones.

Still....wow.

 

Photo Credit to 9to5mac.com