A new survey recently published by Oracle found that people now report trusting robots over themselves when it comes to how they handle their money. More than two-thirds of Oracle respondents said that they trust robots more than a human when it comes to managing their finances.
In a time of immense financial uncertainty for many people, people have adjusted how they think about AI as it relates to their finances. Both consumers and business leaders are increasingly turning to AI and robotics to help them manage their finances and make complex financial decisions. According to a study done by Oracle, 67% of those responding said that they trusted a robot more than a human to make financial decisions.
Business leaders, in particular, were more likely to trust financial decisions to robots over humans, with 77% of business leaders saying they trusted them above finance teams and approximately 73% of them saying they trusted a robot more than themselves. This is in comparison to the 53% of consumers who report trusting a robot more than themselves to manage their finances, and the 63% of consumers who say they would trust a robot over a personal financial advisor.
The perception of robots and AI devices as more rational, accurate agents might reflect a hope that AI devices can help us deal with the increased stress and anxiety surrounding money spurred by the Covid-19 pandemic. According to Oracle, approximately 87% of consumers are experiencing some type of anxiety or fear related to finances, including losing their savings, losing their job, and never getting out of debt. Approximately 41% of people reported losing sleep at night due to worries about their financial situation.
While heavily influenced by the pandemic, the shift in focus towards AI and robotics, in the financial space was already occurring before the 2020 pandemic. The next decade could see the roles of finance professionals change heavily as the field is transformed by AI. Business leaders already believe that AI and robotics will transform corporate finance in the coming years, with 85% of business leaders wanting help from automated systems when it comes to a variety of financial tasks such as financial approvals, compliance and risk management, forecasting, budgeting, and reporting.
While AI and robotics can genuinely improve people’s ability to manage their finances and free up time in their day, how much an AI should be trusted instill an open question. The variables that influence people’s trust in a robot or an AI aren’t entirely known, and it’s, therefore, difficult to design AI systems that function alongside people ethically.
A recent study found that people’s attitudes towards robots were influenced by the robot’s appearance. Robots with highly human appearances were judged more harshly when they carried out an act that could be construed as unethical, and robots with less humanoid appearances were judged less harshly when they committed the same act. The appearance of a robot may influence people’s attitudes towards them, including how much they trust the robot when it comes to complicated decisions like what to do with one’s money.
Another recent study found that AI applications could nudge people towards committing unethical acts, even when a person knows that the advice comes from an AI. Given how impactful financial decisions can be when it a person’s wellbeing, it’s important to ensure that any AIs or robots that give humans financial advice or act in their stead are acting in an ethical fashion.
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