The main points in a nutshell

  • We should continue to think for ourselves and not rely solely on AI.
  • In the future, we will see increasing use of AI-based digital assistants to help us manage our finances.
  • In the field of medicine, certain AI systems are already more effective than human beings.

How do you define the term “artificial intelligence?”

Sophie Hundertmark: In the past I would have said: AI is when a computer thinks, acts and makes decisions like a human being. Today, however, I would say: we are still nowhere near this stage. With AI, computer systems learn how to function according to certain algorithms, which may or may not come close to mimicking how a human being would act.

What do you find exciting about this? And do you also have some concerns?

Hundertmark: Some of these computer systems are already more effective than human beings. For example, in the field of medicine AI is sometimes better than humans at identifying cancer. But things get very tricky if we rely entirely on AI. We must still think for ourselves and question things critically.

Looking ahead ten years: What changes regarding money and finances can we expect in connection with artificial intelligence?

Hundertmark: More digital assistants that use AI to keep my finances under control, e.g., automatic trading. Or a reminder that tells me when I should invest money again or when I should reduce my spending because I have less money on my account.

And in our private lives?

Hundertmark: There will certainly be more automation. In some cases, we may no longer even notice all the things that are already automated. You can actually see this in all the personalized advertising, or in Google searches, which are perfectly matched to us. Social media feeds also show me exactly what I want to see or what I will hopefully buy.

Everyone needs to have at least a basic awareness and understanding of AI. How can we look into this topic without getting frightened?

Hundertmark: In my opinion we don’t need to be afraid. But it is a little bit like the introduction of the assembly line, which was also something new that made many people anxious. Nowadays, it is almost impossible to imagine how certain industries could function without assembly lines. We need to constantly remind ourselves of the advantages of being human, especially to continue to cultivate personal relationships with family and friends.

And finally: Can you describe the most impressive experience you yourself have had with artificial intelligence?

Hundertmark: That was when I took part in an experiment for ZDFinfo and we developed a chatbot based on AI – the participants did not notice that they were chatting with an AI program. This was mainly because most of the participants just made small talk and the AI had been very well trained to ask simple questions.

Sophie Hundertmark

Is a chatbot consultant and PhD student at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts at the Institute of Financial Services Zug (IFZ) and at the University of Fribourg. She is one of the first master’s students in Switzerland to have researched chatbots. 

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