Science-Fiction is here

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The future of payments will be like a sci-fi movie where NFC and facial recognition will enable payments. Currency notes will become a thing of the past, branches will become lesser even as robot advisors, virtual assistants and chatbots will be your new banker, wealth advisor and cashier. Inside the Bombay Stock Exchange chatting on the future of trading with a few tech entrepreneurs. The building which was established in 1980 and is named after the Parsi businessman Phiroze Jeejebhoy who was the chairman of BSE for over a decade. Trading and broking firms line up each floor of the 29-storeyed BSE building. Located on the Dalal Street, the building is also one of the tallest in ‘South Bombay.’ A typical trading shop looks like a small cabin area housing 4 to 5 desks with computers. During market hours, traders can be seen glued to the computer monitors and TV. However, there is something happening on the 18th floor of the building which could impact the jobs of these trading houses.

Startups lead the way into the future

On the 18th floor overlooking the Mumbai skyline, dozens of young tech entrepreneurs inside startup accelerator Zone Startups are developing apps, tools and chatbots which can potentially make the businesses of each of these middle-aged traders and investment advisors disappear in future. Welcome to the world of artificial intelligence, robot advisors, chatbots, machine learning, biometric transfers, analytics and blockchain. The technologies are going to change remittances, B2B cash transfers, user authorisation, loan processing and credit risk profiling in future.

The world of robot advisors

“A few years from now online trading and investments will be guided by chatbots, online tools and robot advisors,” Nitin Vyakaranam, founder and CEO of Arthayanatra tells me at Fintegrate 2017, an event organised to gauge the future of technologies that will change banks, insurance companies and share markets. “I started the company because I was sold bad ULIP plans by a friend when I returned to India. A robot advisor would never do that,” adds Vyakaranam. The mobile phones or devices of the future will automatically alert you on the apps if you are going to make a costly purchase. A holographic image or a USSD text would pop up if you’re likely to make a bad investment. You will be advised by an AI-based virtual assistant, if the flight fares are going up and you are still to book a return flight. They may even enter your details and just ask for your fingerprint, iris scan or a selfie to authorise the transaction […]

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