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.
The difference between those with access to formal banking in high-income, developed economies versus developing economies is stark. The World Bank reports 1.7 Billion of the world’s population went unbanked in 2017, with the poor making up 75 percent of this number. Even in developing economies if you are considered wealthy, you are twice as likely to have a bank account than if you are in the poor income segments. Among those living below $2 per day, only 23 percent have a formal bank account.
It’s hard for many to conceive of a world without little bits of paper that we today denote as currency. In fact, money is so ingrained in society that we’ve come up with hundreds of slang terms around the world to describe the stuff. In the US you might hear the term “Benjamins”, “Dead Presidents” or “Greenbacks”. Can you guess which countries gave birth to “Bucks”, “Clams”, “Loon”, “Dough”, “Shtuka”, “Two Bob” and “Moola” when it comes to describing money?
Since 2005 I’ve been predicting the fundamental decline of branch banking. For almost 10 years I fought bankers who decried my assessment that branches would cease to be the most important channel in banking, to be replaced by far more efficient mechanisms for revenue generation and relationship. Today the discussion is increasingly resorting to a sort of desperate plea — “but branches aren’t going to die completely, are they?” No one who is watching these trends today is still saying branches will grow.
Deep learning is a term we’re increasingly using to describe how we teach Artificial Intelligence (AI) to absorb new information and apply it in their interactions with the real world. In an interview with the Guardian newspaper in May 2015, Professor Geoff Hinton, an expert in artificial neural networks, said Google is “on the brink of developing algorithms with the capacity for logic, natural conversation and even flirtation.” Google is currently working to encode thoughts as vectors described by a sequence of numbers. These “thought vectors” could endow AI systems with a human-like “common sense” within a decade.
People will always need banking, but clearly no longer needs banks. The first time I heard that was in 2015 and I thought it sounded clever. Now three years later, we are seeing the banking paradigm visibly crack.