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  • Writer's pictureKenneth Cochrane


Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human characteristics or behaviour to a god, animal of object. This morning David Macchia in the Macchia Minute talks about the threat of financial institutions using robot advisors to replace financial advisors. 

In the context of financial robo advisors, anthropomorphism refers to the tendency for users to attribute human-like qualities, behaviors, or intentions to automated investment platforms or algorithms. Despite lacking human characteristics, robo advisors can elicit anthropomorphic responses from users in several ways:

  • User Interaction Design: Robo advisors often feature user interfaces designed to mimic human interactions, such as conversational chatbots or virtual assistants. These interfaces may employ language, tone, and gestures that simulate human conversation, leading users to anthropomorphize the technology as a helpful and responsive entity.

  • Personalization and Customization: Robo advisors use algorithms to analyze user preferences, risk tolerance, and financial goals to provide personalized investment recommendations. Users may anthropomorphize the robo advisor as a knowledgeable and understanding entity capable of tailoring investment strategies to their individual needs.

  • Trust and Reliability: Users may develop trust in robo advisors based on their past performance and perceived reliability. Anthropomorphism can lead users to view robo advisors as dependable and trustworthy entities, similar to human financial advisors.

  • Emotional Response: Users may experience emotional responses to the recommendations and decisions generated by robo advisors, especially during periods of market volatility or uncertainty. Anthropomorphism can lead users to attribute emotions such as confidence or anxiety to the robo advisor's actions.

  • Feedback and Communication: Robo advisors may provide feedback and communication to users through automated messages or notifications. Users may anthropomorphise the robo advisor's communication style, interpreting messages as coming from a knowledgeable and supportive entity.

While anthropomorphism can enhance user engagement and trust in financial robo advisors, it is essential for advisors to maintain awareness of the technology's limitations and capabilities. Robo advisors lack human judgment, intuition, and emotional intelligence, and advisors should supplement recommendations with critical thinking and research. While financial advisors may use algorithms and automated investment platforms to develop their develop and check their recommendations, humans seek trust and affirmation they are following the correct path that will lead them to meeting their goals.

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