Facebook's foray into crypto has made the firm few friends in political circles. The Libra backlash has been so bad that it has painted bitcoin and the rest of the crypto industry in a bad light. This week US senators have ramped up their rhetoric against internet monopoly and its lofty banking ambitions. A high ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee has lashed out at Libra again this week when he compared it to the subprime mortgage crisis that caused the 2008 global recession. According to Yahoo Finance, Senator Sherrod Brown pulled no punches in his opening remarks during the assembly.
Technology is and has always been a crucial part of finance. From the first promissory notes (banknotes) in the Netherlands and China, there was a race with counterfeiters that parasitically undermined trust. As in political communication, technology is the message, rather than merely "a tool": when it comes to money, trust is not just instrumental, it is fundamental. With cashless payments being the norm and social media platforms weαving an additional layer of involvement in our social data web – Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple – Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already in our wallets, business, and financial affairs. In a non-western setting, one may refer to the Chinese "social rating" system, which allows the state to value and evaluate social behaviour patterns, creating a link to individual credit rating.
Across various domains--such as health, education, and housing--improving societal welfare involves allocating resources, setting policies, targeting interventions, and regulating activities. These solutions have an immense impact on the day-to-day lives of individuals, whether in the form of access to quality healthcare, labor market outcomes, or how votes are accounted for in a democratic society. Problems that can have an out-sized impact on individuals whose opportunities have historically been limited often pose conceptual and technical challenges, requiring insights from many disciplines. Conversely, the lack of interdisciplinary approach can leave these urgent needs unaddressed and can even exacerbate underlying socioeconomic inequalities. To realize the opportunities in these domains, we need to correctly set objectives and reason about human behavior and actions. Doing so requires a deep grounding in the field of interest and collaboration with domain experts who understand the societal implications and feasibility of proposed solutions. These insights can play an instrumental role in proposing algorithmically-informed policies. In this article, we describe the Mechanism Design for Social Good (MD4SG) research agenda, which involves using insights from algorithms, optimization, and mechanism design to improve access to opportunity. The MD4SG research community takes an interdisciplinary, multi-stakeholder approach to improve societal welfare. We discuss three exciting research avenues within MD4SG related to improving access to opportunity in the developing world, labor markets and discrimination, and housing. For each of these, we showcase ongoing work, underline new directions, and discuss potential for implementing existing work in practice.
By redirecting focus, wealth managers can successfully respond to challenges brought on by digital disruption, demographic shifts, and tighter regulation. Wealth managers have seen their fair share of ups and downs in recent years, and while challenges remain, advisers can drive business and growth by paying attention to demographic segmentation, how investors are using technology, and changes in regulation. In this episode of the McKinsey Podcast, Simon London first speaks with PriceMetrix chief customer officer Patrick Kennedy and McKinsey partner Jill Zucker about the North American wealth-management industry; he follows that with a discussion with senior partner Joe Ngai, on the industry in China. Simon London: Welcome to the McKinsey Podcast with me, Simon London. Today, we're going to be talking about financial advice and the people who provide it: financial advisers, or as they're sometimes known, wealth managers. Wealth management is a very big business--and also a business facing a number of challenges, such as new technology, changing demographics, and tighter regulation in a lot of countries. A little later, we're going to be getting a perspective on China. But we're going to start here in North America. For the first part of the conversation, I'm joined on the line by Jill Zucker, a McKinsey partner based in New York, and Patrick Kennedy, who's based in Toronto. Pat is chief customer officer for PriceMetrix, which provides data and analytics to the wealth-management industry.
The recent technological advancement within artificial intelligence, the "Internet of Things", and robotics has generated significant impact on traditional businesses, causing decreasing profit margins across several sectors, whereas most of the big winners in the Wall Street IPOs are companies with innovative ideas from Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) and Twitter, (NASDAQ: TWTR) to Snapchat (NYSE: SNAP). There are two common determining factors among those successful IPOs: Ideation and User Generated Content (UGC). In the era of big data and artificial intelligence, we will soon be able to create the tools to better capture the value from ideation and UGC, as well as spur economic growth by capitalizing on human ingenuity. With the ever-accelerating developments in technology, the world is in the process of moving from a consumer economy to a knowledge-based economy, and from a debt- based system to an equity based system, which will include movement from tangible assets to intangible assets. Hence we envision that our world economic system will operate on a new growth formula.