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Think Your Sales Position Is Safe from the Coming Robot Revolution?

Surely there are many in the sales and services industry that think when it comes to robotics, “Well, my job is safe from that technology because it requires a fair amount of humanity.”

While potentially true for many people, especially those living in rural areas, it would probably surprise most to learn that it is becoming abundantly clear that no job, career, or position is not at some sort of risk of either drastically changing or being wiped out completely from the coming robot revolution.

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Imagine walking into a car showroom and being greeted by a robot that can not only give you a full breakdown of the vehicle you have your eye on without missing a beat but that is also programmed to negotiate the deal and entice you into signing.

Sound far-fetched? How about a robotic financial advisor?

The technology isn’t quite to the point that SoftBank Corp.’s Pepper is selling us mutual funds or approving our loans just yet… but it’s coming. And faster than you might think.

For now we are at “ground zero” with the robotic financial services industry, but the proverbial writing on the wall already appears to be there in big, bright, capital letters. Robo-advisors like Betterment and Weatherfront have both raised US$2 billion in investment capital and counting, and the future seems extremely bright for this job-killing technology.

Currently, these two computer programs use algorithms to suggest relatively inexpensive stock index exchange-traded funds (ETFs). In addition, they are also able to rebalance stock portfolios, give advice on tax efficiencies, and tie all your assets up in a nice, neat package in an online platform that can be accessed from anywhere.

Financial Guard and Personal Capital are two others that can evaluate clients’ investment accounts and offer solutions and/or advice. Big investment houses in the United States are already starting to take notice and trying to get in on this technology, which could spell a quick death to the financial advisory industry as we know it.

In a certain light this would appear to be great, because if financial advisors are kicked to the curb, so goes their high commissions with them. And although that does sound brilliant on the surface, I am not sure all the businesses and people downstream of those commissions are going to appreciate it if they lose their best customers. Every barber, suit shop, shoe store, watch shop, fine dining restaurant, and any other business targeting wealthy financial types in cities worldwide would ultimately feel the pinch of a decimated financial services industry.

On the flip side of that argument, though, if the clients were able to keep more of their money then they might pick up the slack that a robotic financial advisors’ world might leave behind.

Unfortunately we won’t know the outcome until it’s just a reflection in the rear-view mirror, and even then we’ll have to wait for the guys at Freakonomics to figure it all out for us.

Nevertheless, it’s apparent that we are headed for a world less chaotic, more controlled, more transparent (wishful thinking), and way more programmed than it already is. And although it all sounds wonderful, we are still waiting to hear an industry leader explain how 7.1 billion people in the world will be able to earn a living and keep all these coming robotic customer services viable.