No worries about the robot overlords

Published 9:34 pm Thursday, August 17, 2017

By Nathan Rice

Hollywood has been warning us for years. Robots will soon be coming to take over the world!

Highly intelligent humanoids have been attacking their human creators on the silver screen for a long time. While we have yet to see artificial intelligent beings try to take over our world, we have seen computers take over many industries.

Email newsletter signup

Many jobs that were once performed by humans have been turned over to machines. There is no doubt that computers have changed our world, and they have forced nearly every industry to change how they do business.

The financial services field is no exception, and I think there are many good things that have come as a result of the increase in technology.

I work at a financial institution, but I still have our mobile app on my phone. I enjoy the convenience of being able to double-check my balances, complete a transfer from one account to the other, or make a deposit by simply snapping a picture of the front and back of a check. I am a huge fan of online billpay, which allows me to pay bills to companies or send a check to an individual with just a few clicks of a mouse and keyboard.

I like technology, and I use electronic services, but there is one thing a computer can never replace.  A computer program can never replace an experienced, knowledgeable and caring individual.

Being able to help people with their finances is the most enjoyable part of my job. Whether it is helping someone establish credit for the first time, rebuild credit after some difficulties, create a plan to pay off debt or determine how to best plan for retirement, I enjoy looking at the big picture of individuals’ finances in order to determine how to best help them reach their financial goals.

I also know it’s something that a computer cannot do. A computer algorithm may be able to make suggestions, and a pre-programmed questionnaire may try to guide a user in the right direction, but bits and bytes cannot listen to you, empathize with your situation or understand your heart’s desire to build a better financial life for yourself and your family.

Filling out a form online may allow you to open a new financial account, but it does not provide you with a financial professional that will help you determine what account or accounts will best help you achieve your financial goals.

In the same manner, an online banking site may be able to help you open an IRA account, but it cannot listen to your dreams for retirement and help you develop a plan to turn those dreams into a reality.

I know computers are smart. I ask my cell phone questions to which I don’t know the answer, and it typically comes up with an answer within a few seconds. It even tells me how long it should take me to travel to work or home, which is somewhat creepy, because I have never programed in my home or work address.

I know computers have been declared as the future, but I also know that I can never be replaced by a computer. My experience in the financial field and the countless situations I have encountered along the way cannot be programmed into a website, and my desire to help people improve financially cannot be replicated by a computer program.

I am thankful for technology, but I’m more grateful that I still get to help people reach their financial goals.

Nathan Rice is the Relationship Manager of the Downtown Suffolk branch of ABNB Federal Credit Union. He is a Hampton Roads native and can be reached at