Brett King is a futurist, best selling author, award winning speaker and host of a globally recognized radio show. He is also co-founder and CEO of Moven, a New York-based $200m mobile banking startup with over a million users. He is widely regarded as one of the top 5 global influencers in financial services, and his book Augmented was cited by China's President Xi Jinping as recommended reading on artificial intelligence. He advised the Obama administration on the Future of Banking, and has spoken on the future in 50 countries in the last 3 years. Brett focuses on how technology is disrupting business, changing behaviour and influencing society. He has fronted TED conferences, given opening keynotes for Wired, Singularity University’s Exponential Finance, The Economist, SIBOS and many more. He appears as a commentator on CNBC and has appeared regularly on the likes of BBC, ABC, FOX, Bloomberg and more. His radio show, Breaking Banks, began in May 2013. It was the first global show and podcast on FinTech, and has grown to be the most popular with an audience in 140 countries/ 3.6 million listeners.
In a recent UN/ICAO commissioned survey on the use of signatures in passports, a number of countries including the UK recommended phasing out the long held practice because it was no longer deemed of practical use. More significantly, however, is the emerging trend that has some parents, educators and lawmakers espousing their concern – when asked to sign most kids these days are simply writing their name – the art of the signature may soon be a lost art. A recent report in Gulf News disclosed that this is a global problem with kids in Canada, Tokyo, Hong Kong and elsewhere moving away from written signatures because they live their life through technology, but without the need to sign.
Whether it is Bank of Queensland with their Hipster Branch launch, Citi’s famed Apple Store Branches NAB’s Crowd concept, Unicredit “Branch of the Future” in Italy and Bulgaria, PNC’s Tellerless Branches, smaller regional players like South Shore Bank and Conestoga Bank Werx, or the launch of Video Interactive Teller’s for TEB, Ion Bank, Banca Popolare and others, we seem to be hearing about new ‘Branches of the Future’ constantly. However, with declining branch activity across the board in developed markets, is the very term branch of the future part of the problem? When BankWerx launched their new ‘branch of the future’ the press reported that they were offering free Wifi, phone charging stations and free coffee to engage prospective customers. Then other banks opened up next door.
How does one predict the future? Admittedly it is easier to predict what will happen 5 or 10 years from now, than 50 years, but at the same time, we’ve got trouble predicting what the stock market or weather patterns will do a few weeks from now, let alone the banking system. However, when we look at long-term trends a few things are abundantly clear.
If you listen to this Breaking Banks AM Radio Show (also available via stream and podcast) you’ll hear a spirited rematch of the Great Digital Banking Debate that Michal Panowicz and I had on Twitter. The debate concluded with a split decision – Twitter declaring the FinTech team the winner, and an in-house count declaring the Digital Bank team the winner. This pretty much sums up the industry debate right now. Anyone who is in a FinTech, of course, believes that FinTech represents the future of the banking experience, but Digital Bankers, especially the more competent players like Michal Panowicz, aren’t ready to lie down and die just yet, and that’s good for banking.
For over 100 years employment has been shifting out of big industry and into services. Whether agriculture, fishing, mining or in the last 50 years manufacturing, as processes become automated, we’ve shifted to jobs where humans matter. But in a world where the ability of a human is surpassed by artificial intelligence, there is a real risk that many humans will lose their jobs.