Will Bots Replace Apps and Cryptocurrency Replace Money?

“2018 is the Year of the Bots”  proclaims an article in Fortune Magazine. The App will have to move over as  “Businesses will likely spend more on creating chatbots in 2018 than on Apps in an effort to better serve their customers.”  

Another prognosticator who is a contributor to Forbes, with an 18 year accuracy rate of 73%, issued 35 predictions.  Two notable items on the list were: 

  1. “Crypto-Currency (Bitcoin is just one of many) is the money of the future.” 
  2. And that Blockchain technology, as a platform and disconnected from Bitcoin, will be the next internet class disruption.” 

(Since #35 correctly predicted “Bama in a squeaker for the ages” in the 2018 College Football Championship, this list carries some clout.) 

My first reaction to these articles was to speculate on how these futuristic innovations would affect the lease finance industry.  

  • Would these technologies have an application in equipment finance?
  • Will my peers in the industry integrate these tools into their processes?
  • How soon will these new products become widespread?

 “Short for chat robot, a Bot is a computer program that simulates human conversation, or chat, through artificial intelligence. However, in the real world,  they are more suited to aid Customer Support rather than replace it.”  

Since $4.5 Billion is expected to be invested in enterprise intelligent assistants by 2021, I can foresee the use of Bot technology in the lease finance industry at the front end of the process. Even though our Company makes it easy to get through to a real person, our credit analysts and support staff will readily communicate by e-mail, text, snail mail, fax, or smoke signal, if necessary. As a lease matures and the potential for questions arise, human interaction is typically preferable.  

When it comes to Crypto-Currency, the disclaimer on this prediction is that it isn’t a dependable, or stable legal tender.  Therefore, it will surprise me if this will be accepted for lease payments in the future. A lease is a contract that requires the lessee to make a series of payments over the span of 24 to 60 months to the lessor. The potential fluctuations of the value of whatever cryptocurrency is used will not lend itself to a long term financing instrument. A stable form of payment is required to protect the interests of all parties.  

(In a related story, I did hear that Businesses in Venezuela are using precious metals to pay their vendors since their cash is worthless. The day I accept some silver candlesticks for payment on a lease will be a red letter day.)

Blockchain programming, or as the author states, “variations”, may be another story since it is reported to have multiple applications. It was originally developed as a decentralized ledger system, which is detached from the control of banks, to record Bitcoin transactions at high speeds. However, Kodak has recently adapted a blockchain platform to be used for photographers to manage their photo files and prevent unauthorized use of their images.

It is exciting but also somewhat terrifying to peer into the future and imagine a world without human interactions in business negotiations, crypto-currency, or Blockchain Technology. In the meantime, we will be on the lookout for any improvements we can integrate into our process to make your experience outstanding.

Happy New Year,

Kevin F. Clune, CLFP

Clune & Company LC