The Three Horizons of AI Thinking for Large Financial Businesses

David Glennie
October 6, 2023

Level 4

In the span of a few decades, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has journeyed from the realm of science fiction to an undeniable reality. For large, pre-existing businesses, especially those in the financial sector, it’s crucial to grasp the profound implications of this evolution. As we delve into the three horizons of AI thinking, we'll uncover the expansive changes it promises, stretching from our workplaces to the world at large.

Horizon 1: AI in the World of Work

When one mentions AI in businesses, the immediate thought is often Horizon 1. It's the introduction of AI into our daily work processes and roles. Companies see AI as an answer to inefficiency, a way to streamline tasks and potentially cut costs.

Within the financial sector, roles like data entry and claims processing can be enhanced, if not fully taken over, by AI. This transformation promises accuracy, efficiency, and substantial cost savings. However, it isn't without challenges. There’s a pressing need for training current employees to integrate with this new tech landscape. Moreover, businesses must address the ethical concerns tied to job displacement and the broader societal implications it might have.

Horizon 2: AI in the World of Business

Beyond the individual tasks and roles, AI’s potential expands further. Horizon 2 takes us into a realm where AI isn’t just an adjunct tool but the very backbone of business offerings. Could we envision financial products or services fully managed by AI? The possibilities are tantalising.

AI-driven financial advice or personalised investment strategies could enhance customer experiences in unprecedented ways. But this horizon also brings a stark warning: evolve or risk obsolescence. Companies that ignore the AI curve might find themselves outperformed by AI-first competitors. Businesses must be proactive, lest they find themselves playing a game of perpetual catch-up.

Horizon 3: AI in the World

Horizon 3 propels us from a business-centric focus to a broader, world-centric view. It’s not just about what AI can do for companies, but what it might do for individuals in their daily lives. Enter the realm of Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) – a vision where each person has an AI assistant, guiding and managing intricate aspects of their lives.

Imagine an AI assistant overseeing personal finances, not swayed by flashy advertisements or brand loyalties but making choices rooted in pure rationality and data. This horizon poses a potent challenge for brands, especially in the financial sector. The tried-and-true methods of cultivating brand loyalty might become less influential, as AI’s rational choices guide consumer behaviour. In this brave new world, businesses must find novel ways to prove their genuine value and remain relevant.

The journey through these horizons isn’t a mere thought experiment. It’s a roadmap for the future, a guide to the transformative potential of AI. For businesses, especially in the financial sector, it’s a clarion call to adaptability and forward-thinking.

As we stand on the cusp of these expansive changes, one thing is clear: businesses that engage with these horizons, that prepare and evolve, will be the ones shaping the future.

Where does your company stand in this AI journey? Are you exploring the first horizon, or are you gazing further into the future? Whichever the stage, it’s crucial to delve deeper, to educate and prepare. Get in touch for more on integrating AI into your business strategies and embracing the future today.