The world has entered the age of artificial intelligence, but Coleman Greig Lawyers consultant Peter Bobbin is anxious about the application of AI within digital advice.

“I think ChatGPT is fantastic,” he said at the Professional Planner Licensee Summit earlier this week.

“I’ve used it a couple of times and it’s wonderful [but] my understanding is that it is based on the data set of today. It’s got a built-in failure.”

Bobbin is fearful that digital advice will have the same built-in failure. To make it work efficiently, he believed that financial services professionals must have a revolutionary look at digital advice “because advice is about communication and communication to the customer”.

“Every negligence claim, every misleading and deceptive advice claim, you’ll see that the court will always talk about the individual, their personality, what they heard, what they saw, from their perspective. It’s not about our perspective [and] that’s the challenge.”

Bobbin exerted that digital advice and AI will not replace professionals because it lacks imagination, which he said is “the single most important key element for the benefit of the customer”.

His statement is supported by recent research from Neilson & Co Wealth managing partner Ben Neilson, which indicated that the development of AI tools will, at best, complement professionals rather than replace them.

Blackrock managing director Bradley Betts said the text ChatGPT generates is of a very high quality, but it “can make fantastical errors”.

“You need to be very mindful of that,” Betts said. “One of the huge advantages of these [AI] models is we can train [them], in effect, on everything. It’s all in the training and the computer has no trouble.”

Failure to launch

Research released by AMP and KPMG in May found interest in digital advice had peaked, but consumer take-up had not reached the same level.

Link Advice CEO Duncan McPherson said digital advice has been a slippery slope because “we haven’t had clarity around legislation”.

“[If] you build a digital engine, you’re shooting yourself [because] you’re going to go from general advice into personal advice, so [it] is restricted investment,” McPherson said.

He added that the Quality of Advice Review will allow advisers to extend the definition of personal advice into general advice if they are courageous enough, therefore removing the arbitrary lines between them.