Planes, Trains, and AI-mobiles: Journeying into AI’s Future – ASPPA Net

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In a discussion at the recent NAPA 401(k) Summit in Nashville, Tenn., Mike Walsh, CEO of Tomorrow, explored the transformative potential of artificial intelligence (AI) in the advisory and regulatory landscape. He emphasized the rapid advancements in AI technology and the urgent need for the retirement planning industry to adapt and innovate.

Walsh opened his session by challenging the audience with three pivotal questions: “How will AI change the world around us? How will it change the way we work? And how will it change us as advisors in this space?” These questions set the tone for a deep dive into the implications of AI for the future of financial advising and institutional operations.

One of Walsh’s most striking points concerned the ubiquity and utility of AI in everyday applications. He noted the significant increase in the use of tools like ChatGPT. “It’s estimated that 20% of Americans have now used ChatGPT at work as of February 2024,” he said, highlighting the rapid adoption of AI technologies in professional settings.

Walsh also touched on the innovative uses of AI beyond conventional applications, pointing to the development of smart devices like AI-powered glasses and virtual assistants that could revolutionize how we interact with the world. “This is the beginning of a world in which we start to use devices, which means we no longer need to use phones as we use today,” Walsh explained, illustrating the shift toward more integrated and intuitive AI interfaces.

The transformative potential of AI was a recurring theme, with Walsh emphasizing its role in redefining customer and client experiences. He argued that the most successful organizations of the 21st century will be those that “think deeply about how they can create amazing experiences for the people they serve.” This experience involves a shift from traditional product-oriented approaches to building platforms that integrate AI to enhance service delivery and operational efficiency.

Walsh’s vision extended to the broader implications of AI in reshaping industries. He cited examples from the automotive sector where companies like Tesla are transitioning from manufacturing cars to creating “smartphones on wheels,” leveraging AI to unlock new functionalities and services. This, he suggested, indicates how industries are pivoting to embrace AI not just as a tool but as a foundational element of their business models.

In concluding thoughts, Walsh challenged the audience to think radically about the future, suggesting a thought experiment where unlimited resources were available to reinvent their organizations with AI at the core. “What would be one truly disruptive thing that you would do that would terrify everyone else in what’s really holding you back from thinking big?” he posed, pushing for a bold reimagining of business practices and strategies in the age of AI.

Walsh’s insights shone a light on the critical intersections of AI with human advisory roles and underscored the urgency for the retirement planning sector to adapt. As AI continues to evolve, it promises to redefine the landscape of financial services, making it imperative for advisors and institutions to stay ahead of the curve in understanding and implementing AI-driven solutions.

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