The term “future shock” — referring to a society that is evolving so rapidly its members can’t keep up — is nearly 50 years old, having been coined in 1970 by the author Alvin Toffler.
As much attention as the idea got at the time, the pace of change that prognosticators were worried about then, including consumers suffering from “information overload,” has only gotten worse. Forget computers in every home, now there’s one in everyone’s pocket. Nobody worries about kids being addicted to TV anymore; now they’re all on social media.
In the financial world, the pace of change is also speeding up. Few talked about the blockchain five years ago. Now it’s everywhere, being used by an iced tea company
and appearing as a punchline on late night TV
. Virtual assistants, allowing consumers the chance to do any number of things just by shouting at a device the size of a speaker, were the best-selling device this past holiday season. More fintech firms are being formed every day, promising to offer financial services faster and cheaper than banks, and the Silicon Valley giants are not far behind.
It leaves the question: Can banks still compete in a post-future-shock world?
The answer, at least according to the ideas in this roundup, is still a resounding yes. The articles herein touch on a number of areas, including ways blockchain can be harnessed by banks to help with recruiting, how to beat Amazon as it eyes banking services and why institutions should be looking forward to the creation of the ultimate virtual assistant.
These new developments on all fronts will rapidly reshape banking. Here’s what banks can do to prepare.