“Digitalization” should not be reduced to “technologization” of existing things. It should rather be seen as the development of something new. In this context, the attempt to create an intelligence that is at least equal to human intelligence plays a central role.

Chess Grandmaster Garry Kasparov, the first world chess champion in history to be beaten by a computer (IBM’s Deep Blue), points out to all technology enthusiasts that today, machines are only superior to humans if they at least know the aim of a task. They are able to solve almost every problem – yet they don’t know which problems are actually relevant.

But will that remain the case? Will machines also learn to recognize relevance? Will they be able to be creative, and will they be able to experience human emotions? Will they not “only” be able to make predictions with different degrees of probability, but also to explain why something is happening, and will they even be able to advise us as to what should happen? Which crucial questions must we ask ourselves in this regard? Which ethical aspects must be considered? How will this development affect us as humans? Where does this fit in with security topics? These questions and more are discussed by the authors of the book "Humans and Machines – a critical appraisal of the future", which sheds light on the issue from various perspectives.

The UBS Global Wealth Management Innovation Lab tackles these important questions with experiments, such as UBS Companion, which should give us initial insights into how digital assistants could be used to enhance advisory and client experience going forward.

About the experiment "UBS Companion"

Under its newly established test-label "Beta", UBS currently explores the use of human digital assistants, who help clients and client advisors in a meeting context to find solutions on the spot. Client advisors in Wealth Management Switzerland are the first to take part in our experimental project exploring two newly developed avatars: "Daniel Kalt", a digital version of UBS Regional Chief Investment Officer Switzerland and "Fin", a friendly helper and digital assistant. The avatars, which can interact with the clients and their advisors via voice and eye contact, are being deployed to client meetings via a TV screen. The aim is to explore how to create a new frictionless access to UBS's expertise for our clients and to test the acceptance of digital assistants in a wealth management context.

Based on what we know and are able to predict today, we at UBS are of the opinion that it cannot – and should not – be about replacing humans with machines. Rather, it is more about understanding how humans and machines can complement each other in the best possible way. As Diego Rasskin-Gutman, author of the book Chess Metaphors, says: “what computers are good at is where humans are weak, and vice versa”.