Human advice in the age of the rise of machines - Dr Khoo Kah Siang

| 22 Nov 2017

Can it be possible that one day, Artificial Intelligence (AI) progresses to a stage where it is able to tell individuals specifically what their financial needs are and become their personal financial adviser? Dr Khoo Kah Siang, Executive Champion of the Year awardee at the 2nd Asia Trusted Life Agent & Advisers Awards, explores.

This may sound like science fiction, but it is becoming increasingly possible for learning machines to synthesise large pools of data points on human behavioural patterns and enable them to identify individual needs. AI may soon find its way into devices that we now rely on in our daily lives, and act as our virtual financial assistants.

That said, one thing we may have overlooked in this fear-inflicting scenario is that the human need for emotion and choice will prevent machines from total domination. People generally still prefer to seek out another human whom they trust to share their logical and emotional needs. So, consumers will continue to prefer getting personalised feedback on their choices - as opposed to emotionless algorithmic responses generated by machines.

What advisers need to do

But advisers will also need to leverage digital tools, including AI, to provide more holistic, independent and tailor-made advice to customers. They will have to rely on these tools to provide ongoing advice as consumers enter different stages of their life cycles. Subsequently, advisers’ mindsets will have to change so that they move away from making one-off sales pitches to being able to provide long-term services to their customers.

Humans were created to rule over other species on earth. So instead of letting machines dictate how we live our lives, we will need to know how to better use the machines.

Dr Khoo Kah Siang has been appointed Chief Executive Officer for Manulife Singapore. His appointment is effective from 9 February 2018, subject to any necessary regulatory approvals. Prior to this, he was Senior MD, Strategic Business Development & Regional Bancassurance, Great Eastern Life.

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