Betterment, another robo-advisor, is using artificial intelligence in a limited capacity to back-office tasks such as check processing.
The company does not use the technology to generate financial advice or manage portfolios, said Dan Egan, director of behavioral finance and investing at Betterment.
“Generally speaking, machine intelligence is kind of like an autistic savant, in that it will be very good at a very narrow, well-defined set of problems,” Egan said. “It is not good at very open ended vague things with lots of different branches you can proceed down.”
Financial advisor Ric Edelman, executive chairman of Edelman Financial Services, is also not sure the technology is there yet.
“When it comes to personality issues and the soft side of money, the algorithms, the AI, is nowhere near ready yet to be able to help you deal with the complexities and nuances of personal finance decisions,” Edelman said.
But that could change in 10, 20 or 30 years, Edelman said, or whenever we reach the point when human and machine intelligence are indistinguishable.
“It’s widely considered that that is targeted for somewhere in the 2030s,” Edelman said. “In other words, the financial-planning profession remains a really good career for a while to come.”