Study: "Robots" are trusted more than people when it comes to money management

COVID-19 has accelerated digital transformation across industries. A new study takes a look at the sentiments regarding "robots" in the financial services sector.

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Image: Oracle

The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated digital transformation across industries as companies look to streamline processes and workflows with artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and more. On Wednesday, Oracle released a study focusing on the sentiments regarding the use of algorithms in the financial services sector and the ways in which these technologies could impact the industry in the future.

"Financial processes in our personal and professional worlds have become increasingly digital for many years and the events of 2020 have accelerated that trend," said Juergen Lindner, senior vice president of global marketing at Oracle. "Digital is the new normal and technologies such as artificial intelligence and chatbots play a vital role in managing finance."

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Overall, the study--conducted in partnership with personal finance expert Farnoosh Torabi--included responses from over 9,000 business leaders and consumers from 14 countries. One of the most standout key findings states that nearly seven-in-10 respondents (67%) trust robots more than human beings to oversee their finances. However, it's important to clarify these semantics for perspective and clarity.

"We use this term 'robots' pretty loosely. It can be a digital interface. It can be a machine learning algorithm. It can be an application," Lindner said.

More than three-quarters of business leaders (77%) said they trusted "robots" more than their own finance teams and 73% of these business leaders said they trusted robots more than trusted themselves when it comes to managing finances.

About half of consumers (53%) said they trusted robots more than they trusted themselves when it comes to managing finances and 63% said they trusted these technologies more than personal finance advisors. About one-quarter of consumers (22%) said they thought these technologies could help decrease spending and 15% felt as though "robots" could help them invest in the stock market.

A portion of the study also details ways in which increased trust in these technologies among business leaders and consumers could alter roles in the financial sector. For example, the vast majority of business leaders (85%) "want help from robots for finance tasks" and about half (56%) believed robots "will replace corporate finance professionals" in the next half-decade, according to the release.

Significantly fewer consumers (42%) believe these technologies will replace personal financial advisors over this time period, but many want to seek the advice of "robots" with financial decisions.

For example, three-quarters of respondents (76%) want these technologies to help with financial management. About one-third of consumers (31%) want "robots" to assist with both finance management by decreasing "unnecessary spending" and 25% want these technologies to increase "on-time payments," according to the release.

Interestingly, consumers still want humans to assist with major financial decisions. For example, about half (45%) want humans to offer guidance on buying a home. A similar number of consumers (41%) want human guidance when purchasing a car or to assist with retirement planning (38%).

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COVID-19 and digital transformation

More than one year after the first COVID-19 cases, the coronavirus pandemic continues to present both public health and economic challenges worldwide. The report also illustrates various ways the coronavirus pandemic has impacted people's relationship with money, spending habits, and use of technology.

About one-third (29%) of consumers said that "cash-only is a deal-breaker for doing business" and 69% of business leaders reported investing in capabilities to support digital payments. About half of companies (51%) and one-quarter of consumers (27%) said they use AI to "manage financial processes."

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