Younger Canadians are eager to tap into the potential of Artificial Intelligence to manage and optimize finances, recent research from the Royal Bank of Canada shows.
Two-thirds of younger Canadians are inclined to use AI benefits such as expedited bill payments through reminders, according to a survey conducted by Ipsos on behalf of RBC.
Canadians aged 35-44 are slightly more apprehensive, with those 55+ being downright wary of AI tech as it pertains to finance.
Generational divide aside, AI is “revolutionizing personal finance management,” asserts Peter Tilton.
Tilton, who serves as chief digital officer of personal and commercial banking for RBC, believes that “The ability to harness the power of AI can help level the playing field in terms of financial literacy for Canadians.”
“It can take the manual calculator work out of budgeting, tell you where you might be overspending, help you save automatically and even give you a view into your future cashflow,” he offers.
RBC operates a digital assistant feature dubbed NOMI, which first launched in 2017. Integrated into the bank’s mobile app, the bot taps AI to provide personalized insights for clients managing money.
Data-driven insights are hyper-personalized to individuals, according to Tilton, who describes NOMI as “a powerful tool that can enhance our client’s financial intelligence and resilience.”
Although examples like NOMI are increasingly myriad across finance today, Canadians remain skeptical about AI’s abilities and trustworthiness. RBC data shows three-quarters of those surveyed expressed some level of skepticism toward AI.
That’s a lot of friction to contend with, but some see a smooth way forward.
Alex LaPlante, interim head of RBC-backed AI research centre Borealis AI, suggests that education and awareness are key solutions to this blockade.
“Building awareness and educating Canadians about AI and its applications in finance is a key priority,” says LaPlante.
Fintechs should be committed not just to integrating AI into services—but to doing so responsibly and transparently, so clients are comfortable with the technology and can realize the benefits, LaPlante suggests.
One critical tell in favour of AI is that those who have experienced the tech have much higher trust levels; most of the wariness around AI stems from those who have not interacted with the tech firsthand. Findings from RBC indicate that Canadians who are knowledgeable about AI are significantly more likely to use AI in the future than those who aren’t.
“It’s incumbent on us to ensure AI continues to be deployed responsibly, not only in our products, but across industries,” LaPlante posits. “It’s never been more important that we continue to enable secure, fair, ethical, and trusted AI products, especially in banking.”
The survey points to an optimistic future where AI is more widely adopted, which appears inevitable regardless of popular reception.
After all, Thomson Reuters CEO Steve Hasker says that AI has the potential to solve most of business’ “biggest pain points.” If true, commercial and industrial adoption of AI will be thorough and aggressive.
Clients, customers, and consumers in Canada will simply have to get used to dealing with AI—although, as many have pointed out, most interactions with AI are already so subtle that people typically aren’t aware it’s even occurring.
And, as fintech experts like Tilton insist, the benefits of AI are ready and willing to outweigh any cons.
RBC has 97,000 employees serving 17 million clients across Canada and two dozen other countries.