Let me join you on a journey into the year 2030. Could you describe a typical UBS client advisor and a typical UBS client at that point in the future?
Markus Iofcea: Current research predicts that we will become increasingly part of the Internet, but not yet fully integrated by 2030. Through this and other trends, we and our clients will have considerably more access to information in real time. Assuming UBS is still providing advisory services, we need to watch out for information imbalances arising between clients and their advisors. An example from the present shows where the journey is going: a television salesperson at an electronics store. There’s no way he or she can know all the models in stock, as new models come out every 12 months. The number of products also grows from year to year because customers always demand as much choice as possible. Furthermore, most customers come into the store very well informed. The trend has already impacted doctors and will soon affect teachers and UBS. In 2030, clients will use artificial intelligence to reach decisions; they will literally be augmented. We call this type of person “amplified ME.” To serve these individuals properly, client advisors will also need to be “amplified” so that information imbalances don’t emerge.
So there’s a big likelihood that AI will supplant other technologies, particularly in banking.
MI: Absolutely. In fact, most of today’s hot trends will be seen as completely normal and taken for granted, that’s if they still exist.
What current technologies will be replaced by others?
MI: I can’t say, because we’re always looking two to three decades ahead. If we go back the same number of years, we find ourselves in a world where people were still working with teletext, fax machines, standardized software and floppy disks. But who faxes invoices nowadays? And it’s the same with most things we use today. Today’s indispensable technologies are, from our standpoint, ephemeral. Yes, they are multi-billion-dollar businesses today, but they are subject to ever-diminishing life cycles. In the 2040s, people will use technologies we can barely imagine. That’s why, in our scenario mapping, we don’t even look at current technology trends.