Have you been in business long enough to recall when you began using computers? Remember the first portable telephones and their evolution to become today’s sophisticated smartphones?

When smarter, more efficient ways of doing business came along, we all adapted, some of us more readily than others.

Well, get ready for some more technological change. Actually, change isn’t the best word for it. Rather, exponential technologies will disrupt virtually every aspect of the human race, and that, of course, includes big changes for financial advisors.

Yes, the advisory world is about to undergo an unprecedented makeover, whether we’re ready for it or not.

And the future I’m referring to isn’t a distant one. I’m talking about the next three to 10 years—not two to three decades from now. If that shocks you, well, it shocked me, too, when I first realized this.

My interest began several years ago, after I interviewed Ray Kurzweil on my weekly television show. Ray is one of the most acclaimed futurists in the world—inventor of, among other things, the first CCD flatbed scanner, the first optical character reader, the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, the first commercial text-to-speech synthesizer and a revolutionary music synthesizer (Stevie Wonder bought one of the first ones). He’s on the faculty at Harvard, the recipient of 20 honorary doctorates, and he’s now Google’s director of engineering.

Kurzweil has written extensively on singularity—the point in time when artificial intelligence will be indistinguishable from biological intelligence—and he co-founded Singularity University. (Disclosure: I graduated from its executive program in 2012 and later became a guest lecturer and investor in the accredited school.)

Kurzweil and others believe personal computers will become as fast as the human brain within five years. Software will emulate human intelligence within 10 years, and singularity will be achieved within 15. Even if these predictions are off by a factor of a million, many experts say, singularity will be delayed only 15 years.

How might we have to adjust the advice we give to clients and alter our business models?
 

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