Master of algorithms holds our future

Master of algorithms holds our future

In November 2017, the now late Professor Stephen Hawking issued a chilling warning about the imminent rise of artificial intelligence (AI). 

During an interview, Professor Hawking warned that AI will soon reach a level where it will be a “new form of life that will outperform humans”.

There is a move afoot to bring the delivery of financial advice into the 21st Century. After all, with the smartphone, tablet and virtual reality all breaking through boundaries, why should financial advice not find itself in the vanguard of change? It should work, could work, but will not work until something very simple yet clearly requiring a considerable volte-face takes place.

I had an email from Marin Software. It started with this statement: “Advertise where your customers are”, and linked to an interesting article around Amazon advertising opportunities. 

It observes: “When buyers search for a product, they’re increasingly turning to Amazon as their first stop. There’s no doubt that Amazon advertising is on the rise, but is it enough to loosen Google’s and Facebook’s iron grip on the digital advertising landscape?”

Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple who passed away in 2011, reckoned that: “Older people sit down and ask, ‘What is it?’, but the boy asks, ‘What can I do with it?’”.

Smart technology exists and is readily available in the average home. Algorithm-based analytics are there, right now, to deliver for the mass market an automated method of providing the average family with the ability to self-medicate their financial ailments and prescribe a solution.

This happens in many areas of web-based life today, so why not financial services?

Robo-advice must be in the cross hairs for Amazon – it sells pretty much anything for anyone and is the master of the algorithm. Amazon presents the world of financial services distribution with a challenge and an opportunity. At the moment a simple search for ‘financial services’, ‘life insurance’, ‘pensions’ or any other search permutation offers up hundreds of books, but no access to actual advice.

How long until you will be able to simply say: “Alexa, can you search for a pension/annuity/life cover”? And for Amazon, the benefits are no warehouse space, packing or logistics of delivery. 

Amazon chief executive, Jeff Bezos, over to you.

Derek Bradley is founder of