Mary Fox Luquette, MBA, CLU, ChFC | Lafayette Daily Advertiser
We have become accustomed to conducting financial transactions through our phone or computer. We banking online. We buy shares online. We pay bills online. However, when it comes to financial advice, modern technology may not be the best or the most reliable. Artificial intelligence has evolved to the point where full sentences are used and the effect is like speaking to a real person. This is even more problematic with ChatGPT (an AI chatbot), which admits mistakes and answers follow-up questions. The financial world has changed. However, changes also come with risks, as a Forbes study (forbes.com) shows.
Most people have the same basic needs. Families must have enough cash to pay for expenses. You need to save for retirement with an account or plan that offers a reasonable rate of growth. In addition, insurance must be taken out to protect life and property. But within these broad categories are the small nuances that are as unique as the person making the financial decisions. Planning for a disabled child may be required. Some people wish they had a longer retirement to travel a lot compared to someone who is a couch potato. Artificial intelligence may not be able to take these specific needs or wishes into account, especially if the advice-seeker does not mention it or wants to protect privacy.
Since financial information is provided via a computer “bot”, there may be a risk of cybersecurity hacking. Deepfake technology and malicious actors may be able to penetrate firewalls or exploit weak defenses. Personal information could be disclosed and action taken, much to the chagrin of the investor. Before disclosing sensitive information, it is important to understand that the investor is chatting with a computer and not a real person.
Talking to a computer has its advantages. Information is gathered and an unbiased recommendation is made. This uses ChatGPT as an information source similar to Google, but with a more personal experience. The suggestions offered are based on the information given and are a free service. Results presented do not include seller commission, consulting fees or account costs. This appears to be an inexpensive way to get financial advice. But how accurate are these recommendations and can one rely on the projected impact of implementation? There’s an old adage that the output of a program is only as good as the input data.
If you want to brainstorm, share ideas, or see your potential opportunities without spending money, then AI might be a good resource. It shouldn’t be the only resource. Financial planners are able to provide the best advice that may address unclear facts and concerns that the investor may not realize are relevant.
Mary Fox Luquette, MBA, CLU, ChFC is Associate Professor of Finance at BI Moody III College of Business at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.