Does technology help us or hinder us?

Aaron Shapiro is CEO of Huge, where he helps some of the world’s largest companies reimagine how they interact with their customers and manage their businesses in the digital economy.

Since 2005, Mr Shapiro has grown the firm from a small start-up into a full-service interactive agency operating out of the United States, Europe and Latin America.

He says that “it’s undebatable that technology has made our lives more convenient, but it has also subjected us to a tyranny of choice”.

What does that mean?

In short, he means that choice is overrated.

In longer form, he believes that with the increased number of choices, we are overwhelmed to the point of becoming paralysed from too much choice. We have too many options. It can create an internal angst, that no matter what we choose, we feel like we are missing out on something else.

I wonder how many of us as brokers have experienced this?

I had a look at the website of one of Australia’s major aggregators earlier. They claim access to over 1,450 products from over 40 lenders.

As a broker, how many of us have sat down in front of a client with a laptop and show them all their different options from, in this case, over 40 lenders and over 1,450 products? I expect that if you did, you would be familiar with this overwhelming feeling that many customers have in that moment. The options are too many. Clients need information at a lower dosage, on a level that they can process.

In this instance, the software platform has overwhelmed us. Instead, as brokers, perhaps our job is not to offer choice as much as it is to help with the final lender and product selection. Our job is to reduce the friction and reduce the paralysis that choice has offered.

Can the technology of tomorrow also do the job of lender selection that the broker of today does?

Software is being built now around an anticipatory design methodology. The customer can offload their decision to the technology, thereby reducing the likelihood that they will make a stupid decision. The software would use business logic to review and analyse data, including prior behaviours. Maybe the future is a place where many of our decisions are made for us, with manual choice becoming more and more obsolete.

It is an interesting future to ponder.

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