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Shaping the future of finance

In these days that are dumb, I would rather have no bot

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I regularly come back to a theme, which is how cloud computing and the smartphone have changed the world of banking. Why banking? Well, the world of entertainment, flights, shopping and more were changed by the internet in the 2000’s, before these technologies appeared. But when the smartphone and cloud landed, banking was disrupted.

Why these two technologies and why then?

I guess the big thing was that cloud allowed anyone with any idea to launch a company and the smartphone allowed anyone with any idea to reach millions. Before those innovations, the cost of getting into banking and finance was huge, and the reach was limited. After cloud and the smartphone, the cost was nothing and the reach is huge.

This was a milestone of change.

But there’s a third milestone that is only just beginning. What could that be? AI.

Oh yea, sure, we’ve all heard about AI, or Artificial Intelligence to give it its full name. But AI today is dumb bots. I dealt with a dumb bot the other day, and went round in circles. Why? I wanted to answer a simple question: where are my tickets? The dumb bot just allowed me to select pre-selected questions and answers. There was no intelligence. When I asked: where are my tickets? The dumb bot said: I cannot answer this question. Please press ‘Go Back’. That’s rather surprising for a ticketing website.

What we are seeing is very basic intelligence today and, as I’ve argued before, you cannot be intelligent with dumb data.

More than this however, is that you cannot be intelligent with dumb analysis. Systems need to recognise that the individual is the individual. This is the issue with the dumb bot. They have all the data available but don’t use it. They know that I’m Chris Skinner with this ticket but, instead, talk to me generically, demonstrating that they have no idea who I am or what I’m talking about.

Of course, it is obvious, we are just a few years away from the chatbot that can tailor every conversation to every individual.

Me: I have a question.

Chatbot: I know and the answer is 42.

Me: Oh! Thank you.

But, whilst we are in these days of chatbots that are dumb, I would rather have no bot.

Chris Skinner Author Avatar

Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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