Recently I’ve been seeing the media talk increasingly about how advances in robotics are going to be impacting our daily lives. Often there is a fear factor in these stories, with predictions of job losses and a Brave New World to which we will all have to adapt.
Change is inevitable and always will be. Children today may only ever see a traditional typewriter in a museum. Until then, few might appreciate the mechanics that dictated the layout of the Qwerty keyboard still used today. The architect of the qwerty layout, Christopher Sholes, couldn’t possibly have imagined his design would still be used almost 150 years later in today’s PCs, laptops, tablets and mobile phones. However, the improvements in advanced predictive text and speech recognition software could make the qwerty keyboard, a quirky relic for future generations.
What is increasingly noticeable to anyone keeping abreast of developments, is the pace of change that is occurring. It’s not just about the impact of robotics, ongoing progress in automation as well as artificial intelligence (AI) are driving rapid transformation amongst companies in nearly every industry.
Amazon’s use of technology is a prime example of how the world around us is changing. In Amazon’s warehouse robots now pick the goods for orders, it uses Big Data to observe what we search for and what we buy and not only flags to us what others buying those products also purchased but makes suggestions around our buying history and habits. In the home, Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa can now sync with Microsoft Outlook and Google to help families plan and manage their lives, heating and lighting.
Another change happening now, which, once a little more advanced, many of us might not notice unless it’s highlighted, is the use of conversational AI ‘chatbots’ to offer human-like help with customer service. In business, virtual assistants are able to schedule meetings and make calls – without the recipient knowing they are dealing with a ‘bot’. Some estimates suggest that by 2020 around 85% of customer interactions will be managed in some way by AI.
Automation, robotics and AI technology are becoming a massive force in the commercial world, enabling increasing numbers of companies not only to reduce their costs but also significantly improve productivity. They are engendering transformation and, in many cases, disruption, allowing new entrants and ideas to permeate industries. No wonder that companies around the globe are changing their strategies to accommodate them.
This technology is also a huge opportunity for investors. It is no coincidence that at a time of market volatility such as we are in now, the Lowes Changing World Portfolio, of which robotics and AI are just a small part, has been delivering positive performance.
The theme of change is one we believe will become ever stronger and we will be constantly researching the market and keeping an eye on the opportunities opening up to investors now and in the years ahead.
Of course, we are not ignorant of the threat that such change represents to a business like ours. We do, of course, keep a close eye on new innovations, not least with a view to identifying ways in which we can improve the service we offer to our clients. We know that there are some people who would rather interact with a computer only but Lowes’ advised clients can be assured that, for as long as we operate under the motto ‘Where personal finances are cared for personally’ there will be Lowes people, not robots, looking after their affairs.
To establish why our unique investment management approach has consistently led to more than 96% of client survey respondents rating our investment advice as ‘good’ or ‘very good’, call us on 0191 281 8811 to arrange a free initial consultation.