Future of Finance


With data in their hands, consumers can intimidate anybody

With data in their hands, consumers can intimidate anybody

The blockchain era has spawned a great deal of innovation, but its most lasting impact might well lie in the fact it forced us to think more imaginatively about data. A decade ago, every business wanted to be the next Facebook or Google, by selling its data to third parties. Today, the coming businesses are those which have grasped that data naturally belongs not to corporations but to consumers because, once consumers wake up to that fact, a lot of apparently successful businesses are going to be seriously discomfited. One person who has mapped a future in which computers steaming data are the constant companion of consumers is David Shrier, author, futurist, co-founder and CEO of Esme Learning Solutions, and professor of practice at Imperial College Business School. He spoke to Dominic Hobson about the role of data in trust, identity and democracy, the future of the financial services industry, and how to forge a successful path into a future in which everyone is connected by computers and informed continuously by algorithms processing streams of data.

Questions that are being asked

  1. You were a contributor to Trust=Data back in 2016, which set out a clear vision of decentralised economies and societies running on privately owned and controlled data. How much progress have we made towards that vision in the last five years?
  2. In Basic Blockchain, you offer a bleak vision for the current dispensation in financial services, with 35-40% of employees losing their jobs. What are the gains from the disruption?
  3. You have been involved in the development of FinTech, blockchain and cyber-security courses for executives at Oxford University. What need are these courses addressing?
  4. Your latest book is called Augmenting Your Career: How to Win at Work in the Age of AI, and is due out soon. Can you give us a preview?
  5. As you look across what is happening with AI, Blockchain, and especially data, how confident are you that technology can fulfil its promise of “democratisation”?