Embrace change, take risks, and disrupt yourself

Hosted by top 5 banking and fintech influencer, Jim Marous, Banking Transformed highlights the challenges facing the banking industry. Featuring some of the top minds in business, this podcast explores how financial institutions can prepare for the future of banking.

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The Future Normal: Navigating the Next Decade and Beyond

Today on the Banking Transformed podcast, we dive into a discussion about the coming decade with none other than Rohit Bhargava, a trend curator and author of the compelling book, "The Future Normal."

Rohit's insights challenge conventional wisdom and give us a thought-provoking glimpse into how society can evolve in the realms of living, thinking, and thriving at a time when change is happening faster than ever before.

With his book providing a roadmap of the significant changes ahead, we explore the implications for individuals, businesses, and indeed, the future of banking. This enlightening conversation will expand your perceptions of what's possible and how you and your organization can be future-ready.

Jim Marous (00:00):

Welcome to Banking Transformed, the top podcast in retail banking, I'm your host, Jim Marous. Today, in the Banking Transformed Podcast, we dive into the discussion about the coming decade with none other than Rohit Bhargava, a trend curator and author of the compelling book, The Future Normal.

Jim Marous (00:31):

Rohit's insights challenge conventional wisdom, and give us a thought-provoking glimpse into how society will evolve in the realms of living, thinking, and thriving at a time when change is happening at a pace like we've never seen before.

Jim Marous (00:45):

With his book providing a roadmap of the significant changes ahead, we explore the implications for individuals, businesses, and indeed, the future of banking. This enlightening conversation will expand your perception of what's possible and how you and your organization can become more future-ready.

Jim Marous (01:05):

Rohit's new book, The Future Normal, presents a thought-provoking perspective on what we can expect a decade from now, what we can expect tomorrow, and even what we can expect beyond a decade from now. It's an intriguing evolution of consumer expectations in the profound concept of minimalist luxury. Rohit shares his sage advice for leaders aiming to navigate this new terrain confidently.

Jim Marous (01:32):

So, Rohit, you've been on this show before, but can you take a little time to discuss your background, and can you tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind The Future Normal, and what you hope readers will take away from this book?

Rohit Bhargava (01:47):

Sure. So, this book came about through a collaboration with a good friend of mine who is a futurist based in London. And I do a lot of futures work, and I'm based in Washington D.C. And so, we had the dual perspective of being in different countries. And what we found was that we were both really interested in how could we write about and present a positive and optimistic version of the future.

Rohit Bhargava (02:10):

Because we're both huge science fiction fans, and when you look at science fiction, a lot of it is sort of painting a picture of the future that we just don't want to live in. The robots have taken over, we've totally screwed up the earth, and so we have to leave and go somewhere else. I mean, they're dystopian versions of the future.

Rohit Bhargava (02:29):

And we started thinking, well, as futurists, our temptation is to say, "Well, it could go good or it could go bad." Futurists love these scenarios as they call them. And what we wanted to do was present what we thought could be a possible future if things go right. And that was the framing question of the book, "What if things go right?"

Rohit Bhargava (02:49):

And so, what you'll find in the book is 30 different trends that are based on things happening right now. So, it's not fiction in the sense of, "Oh, I hope someone does this, or I hope an entrepreneur does that." It's based on stories of real people, real instigators, as we called them, doing real things. And the argument of the book is, if we knew about these things, all of us, and if we could support them, then we could make that into our future.

Jim Marous (03:16):

So, based on that, you talk about your 30 stories and really, 30 stories from 30 individuals that, as you said, give you perspective on what's possible as opposed to what you have to be worrying about. It's a little different perspective.

Jim Marous (03:29):

And it's interesting because even the title of the book, The Future Normal caught me because you talk about what is going to be the next normal, and this is a deeper perspective on this, rather than just what's going to be the next normal, is what the normal can become. And it's a slant on it that really it's refreshing to say the least. So, in your research and in the writings, what did you find to be the most surprising trend that's likely to shape the next decade from your perspective?

Rohit Bhargava (04:04):

Well, I think it's an interesting question because on some level when you write about 30 trends, it's sort of like, if you ask me like, "Can you pick your favorite kid." Well, that's a tough one.

Jim Marous (04:16):

I could.

Rohit Bhargava (04:16):

But I think that what's interesting and what will be useful for people who haven't maybe seen the book is that the framing of the book is that it's divided into three big parts. And the first part is how we will connect, get healthy and thrive. So, it's all about us.

Rohit Bhargava (04:33):

The second part is how we will live, work, and consume. So, this is about kind of the world we inhabit around us. And the last part is how humanity will survive. And that's really projecting forward into the future.

Rohit Bhargava (04:45):

And so, when you think about most surprising, probably the how humanity will survive section has topics that people might consider to be the most surprising because they're really painting a picture of what the future could be.

Rohit Bhargava (04:59):

So, for example, we write about waste-free packaging, what that would look like, or millions of microgrids is another chapter. And it's this idea like, what if we each could generate our own electricity or generate electricity for our communities instead of having it come from a centralized location?

Rohit Bhargava (05:14):

Or what if we could control the weather? Like what does weather control technology look like? So, these are the sorts of topics that seem really far into the future, but there's some really fascinating experiments in each of these things happening right now.

Jim Marous (05:28):

So, how do you anticipate consumer behavior changing over the next decade? And because I'm really pretty much in the financial service area, taking your perspectives and the perspective of your 30 authors, how should financial institutions prepare for how consumer behavior is changing?

Rohit Bhargava (05:49):

So, I think the first thing is to really have a good handle on what is not going to change for people. So, for example, people are going to want security, they're going to need a place to live. They're going to want to avoid unreasonable risk. And different people will have tolerances for different risks, which is kind of the way financial services works already.

Rohit Bhargava (06:12):

You measure how much risk someone's willing to take, and then if you're providing good counsel, you say to them, "Well, based on your situation and your age and all of these other factors, this is how much risk I think you should be willing to take, and this is how conservative you should be."

Rohit Bhargava (06:26):

And so, I think there are very common elements and I would argue that hasn't really changed in decades. I mean, that style of thinking about how much risk can you tolerate? And I mean, that's not a new 2023 idea, that is something that's been around for a long time.

Rohit Bhargava (06:41):

And so, a lot of times when you think about changing consumer behavior and this idea of like, what's going to change and what's going to stay the same, the framing is how do we take a human perspective on what we know is going to be true of people? We are all going to want to relay ourselves in a certain way, or demonstrate the aspects of our personality in a certain way.

Rohit Bhargava (07:02):

So, like the chapter, for example, that opens the book, we call it "Multiversal Identity," which immediately sounds like a really futuristic thing. And somebody listening right now might be thinking, "Well, I'm not on the multiverse, so what are you talking about?" But what the chapter's about is not about the multiverse at all. It's about this idea that we each want to have aspects of our identity shown in different ways.

Rohit Bhargava (07:24):

And so, the profile you might have on Facebook would be different than how you portray yourself on LinkedIn. If you use online dating, if you're in a dating world, the way you portray yourself in a dating apps would be different than what you put on a professional platform. And those are all choices that we're making to say, "How do I want to show up in this space, in that space and that space?" And these are all aspects of our identity.

Rohit Bhargava (07:46):

And the prediction here, the future is that we are going to become more conscious of the different places where we have our identities posted online, and we're going to curate those and have more tools to be able to do that. And so, we're going to be thinking about that.

Jim Marous (08:02):

It's interesting too, because when you talk about identity, we've had some guests on that talk about identity and what will be actually part of your identity in different aspects of your life just like you mentioned. It's very interesting because we're all looking at ourselves in different ways today and in different perspectives, but that changed over time too.

Jim Marous (08:22):

So, getting a little away from the books here, but looking at your futurist perspective, yes, obviously, the consumer's going to own their own identity, but in the business world or in the application world, how do you see it being owned by outside organizations? How will a consumer make the choice as to whether their financial institution will own or actually be able to manage a part of that perspective, a part of that identity?

Rohit Bhargava (08:53):

Well, you've kind of landed on one of the really interesting aspects of the future, which is just to challenge what you said before — we don't actually own our identities. Because these platforms that we've put our identities on are basically renting that data, because we're putting it in there, but we don't necessarily own it.

Rohit Bhargava (09:12):

Now, there is legislation that says, for example, if you wanted to, tomorrow, you can go onto Facebook, you can get all the data that they have about you, and you can get it back and you can delete your account. So, there are ways to sort of nuclear ways to be, "Okay, I'm off the platform, I'm done with this whole thing."

Rohit Bhargava (09:29):

But not that many people are taking advantage of that. I think the bigger question mark that a lot of people are asking is, "Look, I will be willing to share some data if it's going to make my experience better. But A, I want to choose what data I share, and I want it to not be that confusing so that I don't really know. And B, if you're going to use that data and monetize it, I should get a cut of that because it's my data."

Rohit Bhargava (09:52):

And these are some of the big questions that people are starting to raise now, and that will be coming in the future and will have to be solved. And you're seeing some potential solutions for that right now, and you're seeing some kind of experiments in it. But I expect that that's going to be a really fascinating space. And in particular, with financial services.

Rohit Bhargava (10:11):

Because obviously financial services has a lot of data, and that data can be used in really positive ways to help people, for example, give them proactive alerts to reduce their fees or to manage their finances or to have better financial habits, which a lot of people just never learn in life. And so, if the institutions can help them get those, these are all great things, but it can also be manipulated.

Rohit Bhargava (10:34):

We can have algorithmic bias, we can take advantage of people with higher rates based on who they are, based on where they come from. And these things are kind of negative effects. And so, I think what you'll start to see is more awareness of how that data's being used and people are going to start really looking at that, and that's going to have an effect on legislation.

Rohit Bhargava (10:56):

I mean, we see some big legislation happening right now, or potential legislation happening right now when it comes to credit cards at the moment that we're recording this. There's some big things under consideration which I'm sure most of your audience knows about and is watching closely. So, we're going to see more things like that.

Jim Marous (11:12):

So, it's interesting because when you look at your book, and it isn't science fiction because everything that was written had a foot on land while another foot was in the water in deeper depth. And it was interesting because every one of the things that are presented, I'm thinking, "Okay, this will impact financial services because I tend to do that anyway."

Jim Marous (11:34):

But when you look at the combination of all the concepts that were brought up in your book, as well as your own view of the future, how do you think financial services will look in the future as opposed to the way it looks today?

Rohit Bhargava (11:49):

So I spend a lot of time thinking about financial services and as you know, I've worked a lot in financial services, I've spoken in a lot of events there. And so you're right, a lot of the underpinnings of these trends and all the different things we wrote about, have implications for financial services.

Rohit Bhargava (12:08):

Whether it means people will be thinking about what role, the way they manage their finances will take in how they manage their identity, which we talked about, through to work, which is something that we haven't really talked about, but just the nature of work itself and how when people can do more remote work.

Rohit Bhargava (12:28):

I mean, there's a whole chapter about jobs that you would not consider to be remote working possible like a tattoo artist, are now possible through remote work. So, now, all of a sudden, the commerce opens up to do work internationally, where you never could do that sort of thing before. You can already, today, hire a designer in Serbia or do things like that. That's relatively straightforward.

Rohit Bhargava (12:51):

But now, if you unlock the potential to have somebody be a remote truck driver, for example, who is based in another country, what implications does that open up for cross country payments financial institutions having to manage those sorts of things, people getting paid in multiple currencies. I mean, all of these things are potential implications.

Rohit Bhargava (13:09):

And so, one of the really exciting things about this book is that we really hoped that it could create a spark for groups, for company teams, for leaders to ask these sorts of questions to say, "What if remote work was available for all, how would that change our business?"

Rohit Bhargava (13:29):

And so, every chapter as you saw, kind of has these questions at the end of it, because the impact of these ideas shouldn't just be, "Oh, that's interesting." We should start to imagine, it's literally called at the end of each chapter, imagining the future normal. And we ask some of these provocative questions to try and get people to think about what implication would this have if it were to really come to pass in a more sustainable and larger way.

Jim Marous (13:57):

I'm going to take a question I was going to leave to the end, but it's really key here because what you're talking about is the learning process. And as business executives or as just regular human beings, we're always trying to get a glimpse as to what's going to happen in the future and what should my reaction be one way or the other.

Jim Marous (14:14):

And we get surprised sometimes. I think most people got surprised by ChatGPT, which is not even a year old. It's getting really close to its birthday on November 30th. But the reality is, it really changed the way we viewed a lot of things. How should consumers, how should business executives look at and become more aware of the future and what's possible?

Jim Marous (14:36):

Obviously, reading your book but beyond that, how does a person continue to grasp the potential and the possibilities of the future as they start to build what we used to call strategic plans, but that can't be the case anymore. Because those are really just iterations of the previous year, certainly in the banking industry. How do you see consumers and business executives actually building a better intelligence to become future-ready?

Rohit Bhargava (15:07):

Well, I do think, I mean, you hit part of it. Yeah, for sure they should read the book, but more broadly, they should consume unusual ideas. And what that means to me, is that you can't just read the trade publications in your industry and expect that you are going to have new ideas or anticipate the future because you're only looking at one really specific vertical.

Rohit Bhargava (15:27):

I mean, one of the things we just launched beyond writing this book, I teamed up with Inc. Magazine and we just launched a brand new like element of our book awards. So, I've been doing these book awards, the non-obvious book awards, for seven years. And this past year, we teamed up with Inc to make it on a much bigger platform.

Rohit Bhargava (15:48):

And every year I go through and I find a hundred of the top most original and interesting books that you probably don't have on your radar, and lists like that. So, that's one example, the non-obvious book awards long list.

Rohit Bhargava (16:02):

But there's other lists like that to be able to consume interesting information from other verticals. And I think that's one of the keys, if you're going to be a leader who can really anticipate the future, you have to broaden your perspective. And one of the ways to do that is by reading more broadly.

Jim Marous (16:17):

It's interesting because experiencing more broadly also. I look at my experiences with Amazon, my experiences with Netflix, my experiences with Uber, many people just go through the transaction. I really pride myself and probably because of the podcast, looking at these things from another perspective, thinking to myself going, "What does that mean?"

Jim Marous (16:38):

Because COVID was a great example of the perspective of how consumers related to outside influences, companies, people they bought from, the way they consumed everything changed so dramatically that if you just took it for granted, that that's just the evolution of things, you're kind of missing the underpinnings of what it means.

Jim Marous (17:00):

So, we talk about many times, the embedded engagement of Uber or the predictive nature of Netflix, or the seamless experiences of Amazon, and the move to instant satisfaction, where it's almost coming to your door before you order it, even though you kind of get the sense that they could do that if they were given the ability to do that.

Jim Marous (17:23):

But it's interesting because your book does a great job of doing this, asking the questions, and putting the reader in a mindset that says, "Question what you see, and think beyond simply what's tactical that you do digitally."

Rohit Bhargava (17:41):

And ask better questions too. I mean, I think the more you consume these sorts of ideas, you start to analyze them and think, "Well, does this feel right? Is this true? Should I take a different perspective? What if the opposite was true?" And I think it makes us more open-minded as people and as leaders. And I think that's really important, especially today.

Jim Marous (18:02):

So, I referenced ChatGPT and the anniversary of it coming up, but just AI in general and consumer's enthusiasm for it and fear of it. How do you see this playing out? Not in a decade, but how do you see this playing out in the next two to three years because it's a lot of elements at play.

Jim Marous (18:22):

I'm amazed. I signed up for three different platforms over the weekend on different AI composition platforms that are out there, each of which looking better in different ways to what I do for my daily work. But certainly, not many people do that, it's not everybody's job. How do you see the evolution of artificial intelligence, generative AI, ChatGPT impacting our day-to-day life in the next couple of years?

Rohit Bhargava (18:53):

So, this, as you would imagine, is a topic that we spent a lot of time talking about and thinking about. And there's several chapters that sort of touch upon it. And one in particular that takes the lens, I think you'll get the perspective from the title of the chapter, which is Augmented Creativity.

Rohit Bhargava (19:09):

And so, we kind of looked at it as how could AI be used as an additive source instead of as a replacement. And the analogy that I've started using from the stage, which makes sense to a lot of people is that AI right now is a bit like those really cool kitchen tools you can get where you take half of an onion and you put it inside the thing and you just press it down and it chops the whole thing for you?

Rohit Bhargava (19:33):

So, the whole onion's chopped and you don't have to cry. And it's much easier and it's much faster than anybody who sat there trying to chop a large onion, it's optimal. But at the end of that, you still have just a pile of raw onion. You can't eat that, you got to turn it into something.

Rohit Bhargava (19:49):

And that's kind of what AI tools are doing right now. They're doing something that you need to do faster, which is chopping the onion for you, but then you got to decide what to do with it. How do you fix that up? How do you turn it into something that is usable instead of something that's just the first step, the first draft.

Rohit Bhargava (20:08):

And when we've used AI — and we did a lot of experiments with it. We tried it in various situations and some things that worked really well for, some things not so much. So, I'll give you one example of what we did with the book. We did not use AI to write the book, which a lot of people ask.

Rohit Bhargava (20:22):

What we did do though, is we took a chapter of the book about a trend, we fed it into the AI, and then we asked AI to write a one star negative review of that chapter. And what it gave us back was something that did spot some of the gaps in our argument that we could then go as writers, back and fix. So, that was really useful.

Jim Marous (20:42):

I love that. It's interesting because I started using, and as you are well aware, some people still are like it's the composition of the question that's more important than the development of the answer. But I many times take insights or take something I'm going to be doing on an article on and say, "Write me an article in this format, the way I would write it."

Jim Marous (21:03):

And what it does, and your idea is better than mine is, which was simply it will highlight some things that I may have missed in what I should write about. But doing your way is even better where I write it, then say, "Okay, give me a one-star negative review on this article about this research," as a way to say, it may say you completely missed a major element of this that you may just not be tuned into which happens when I do my writing or in a podcast.

Jim Marous (21:32):

You miss this question that would've been key in digging deeper into the guest background and what they've done. That's a very interesting way of doing it. But again, it still takes a human. So, it's going to be interesting to see how all this evolves. There's way too many players out there.

Jim Marous (21:52):

We talked with a previous guest a couple weeks ago, the fact that there isn't a solution provider out there that doesn't say they're already using generative AI. And you go, "No, I'm sorry, I won't buy that because it's still so new," but it's going to be interesting to see, because there will be winners and losers, just like there is in any technology.

Jim Marous (22:12):

But with that whole element of AI and identity, all the things you've talked about all the way along, is a whole element of digital trust. The ability to actually trust what's being generated in the digital landscape. How do you see that playing out?

Jim Marous (22:32):

From your book, almost every of the 30 concepts in a way talks about digital trust. How much do you believe what we're saying here as part of the whole element? How do you see digital trust playing out? Is the distrust of people going to overwhelm the potential of technology? Or will people's trust increase when the value transfer is there in a way that makes it actually superpowered?

Rohit Bhargava (23:01):

So, we did think a lot about digital trust. And in fact, there's a whole chapter that we titled Certified Media, and it was about how we might find new tools and how there already are new tools, interestingly enough, that allow us to certify what is real and what is true.

Rohit Bhargava (23:18):

So, in the book we wrote about some plugins that you can currently get for your browser that will read Amazon reviews or reviews of hotels or things like that. And it'll give it a rating based on how likely the tool thinks it is that that review was written by AI, as opposed to written by a human.

Rohit Bhargava (23:36):

So, it'll immediately tell you whether this is a trustworthy review in the sense that it was written by a real person versus AI. But since we wrote the book, there's been interesting examples of that too.

Rohit Bhargava (23:46):

Just last week in my newsletter, I featured a camera, a new camera from Leica, which is a professional grade camera. I mean, it's a pretty expensive camera. But the camera itself verifies through metadata when a picture is taken, what the details of that picture is. So, when you take that image later on, if someone tries to manipulate it, they can actually tell.

Rohit Bhargava (24:10):

And so, they can certify that this was a real picture taken through the camera at a certain time as opposed to a photoshopped image later on. And those are the sorts of things that we'll start to see because we tend to think, "Oh, somebody has to certify this media after it's done," but what if the camera itself, when the picture's taken, could do that. I mean, really interesting.

Jim Marous (24:30):

So, let's take a short break here and recognize the sponsors of this podcast.

[Music Playing]

Jim Marous (24:33):

Welcome back to Banking Transformed. So, today I'm joined by Rohit Bhargava, an author, speaker, and futurist, and really, the author of The Future Normal, brand-new book that really looks at what is going to be potentially, the future that we can live in and live with.

Jim Marous (24:53):

As Rohit brought up in the first part of our podcast, it's interesting because a lot of the perspectives are very positive in nature as opposed to a gloom and doom that many times we'll see in a book on the future.

Jim Marous (25:06):

So, Rohit, when you envision the future of work, which you talked a little bit about before our break, particularly within financial services, what role will technology play and how will this change other industries when you look at future of work?

Rohit Bhargava (25:25):

Well, I think it's already changing the way that we treat work in general. And part of it, sometimes people assign back to the pandemic, and they say, "Oh, well, since the pandemic everything went hybrid and now I don't go into work all the time."

Rohit Bhargava (25:38):

And yeah, there were some habits that changed at that time, but technology enabled a lot of those changes. And now, we're seeing really interesting experimentation when it comes to the future of work. So, I talked about remote work for unlikely categories.

Rohit Bhargava (25:54):

We also wrote about kind of work sharing. This idea that what if a job was done by two people and you shared time so that you no longer worked full-time on that job, but rather, shared that job with someone else who could cover when you were gone and you could take more vacations, and do all of these sorts of things.

Rohit Bhargava (26:11):

And that seems like an unusual thing, but role sharing is starting to become a trend as well. So, a lot of times we see these things that start off in certain sectors and they work and people like them because they offer a better balance in their lives, and then it starts happening in other places.

Jim Marous (26:29):

So, in the book, you talk a lot about wellness, both physical, mental and health-wise. And I'm wondering how do you see the intersection of financial services with wellness overall transforming?

Rohit Bhargava (26:45):

So, there's a lot of crossover because these are huge industry verticals that are taking off. One of the chapters we wrote about in the book was Psychedelic Wellness, and some of the fascinating early research behind psychedelics may seem sort of farfetched to some of your listeners, but the interesting thing is there's research happening right now among scientists on how psychedelic treatments can be cures for things like depression or PTSD, things that people have suffered from for a long time, and medicated for a long time.

Rohit Bhargava (27:18):

And now, they're finding with certain types of psychedelic treatment, you could have a huge impact and maybe even cure people after one session. And it's non-addictive as opposed to other types of treatment. I mean, these are huge implications when you think about the world of health, of wellness. We talked about early experimentation around ending loneliness and how people are cohabitating and things around that.

Rohit Bhargava (27:40):

Ambient health was another category that we focused on, and this was sort of asking the question of what if the buildings that we work in and live in could add to and increase our overall health as opposed to making us less healthy. So, huge implications in the real estate market, construction market. I mean, there's not an industry that's not touched by this.

Jim Marous (28:01):

So, let's say we open your book seven years from now, which ones of the 30, I guess like picking your favorite kid again — which ones of the 30 some concepts do you think had the best chance of coming out pretty much the way it was written?

Rohit Bhargava (28:22):

Well, it's a tough one because to some degree, I mean, just to give you some context, the original draft of this book had 50, and we landed on 30 because we really were brutal about — I mean, that's almost cutting half.

Jim Marous (28:38):

Right. Great ideas on the cutting room floor.

Rohit Bhargava (28:42):

Yeah. We were really brutal about only including the trends and the movements that we really thought were going to have a huge impact. So, when you asked me like which one of these 30 are going to really have a big impact or show up after seven years, I think all of them really.

Rohit Bhargava (28:59):

And I don't mean to not answer the question, but we put it in the book because we believe that these are the ones that are really going to take off in that span of time, and perhaps even sooner. And some of them already are happening quite soon.

Jim Marous (29:16):

Okay. So, with that in mind, let's take the other end of it and say what ones that may have been on the cutting room floor or one that you have in your own head looked at that isn't in the book that you're saying, "You know what, if I wrote the book today, this would've been added."

Rohit Bhargava (29:32):

Yeah, that's an interesting one. Because now, you're talking about regrets, right?

Jim Marous (29:37):

Maybe that negative AI thing again that you looked at. Where's the gap? Overall, which one we missed.

Rohit Bhargava (29:47):

Yeah. I may have included another one about AI to be honest with you, because right now, the chapter that we really had focusing on AI was all about creativity. But I think there's a lot of aspects of AI that kind of go under the radar.

Rohit Bhargava (30:09):

So, for example, there's a huge implication for AI when it comes to the legal industry because there's a lot of things that happen in the legal industry, take contracts, for example.

Jim Marous (30:21):

So, I also look at AI from the standpoint of simplifying my life. We're all creatures of habit. We tend to have a routine that we like and are comfortable with. I would think that AI would be able to monitor my daily, weekly, monthly routine and build in the capability of saying, "We can take this off your shoulders to give you more time to explore brand new things."

Jim Marous (30:47):

I mean, both of us have done this in our regular lives where we've taken things off our shoulders and open new doors that wouldn't have been there otherwise. But I would think that AI has the ability to look at me as a person, as an individual, and simplify my life without a whole lot of effort and continually improve upon it very much like Amazon does from a purchasing perspective.

Jim Marous (31:10):

It's interesting concept when you look at all the things that can happen with AI and the potential there. And it gets down again to digital trust, privacy and value transfer, which pretty much are the way that we've transacted forever. So, finally, what advice would you give to leaders in financial services or actually in any industry to help them thrive in the future normal?

Rohit Bhargava (31:39):

So, I mean, I think that thriving in the future normal is going to take two big things for leaders. And this is in financial services, but just any type of leader as well. The first is that we have to be willing to put aside our own skepticism of something that we may not understand or believe but that people are actually using right now.

Rohit Bhargava (32:01):

And I think that's really hard ... and when we get to a certain point in our experience, we're like, "Well, we know what people care about and this doesn't seem to fit that, so it can't be important. If it's not on my radar, it can't be important." And that's like a form of ego.

Rohit Bhargava (32:16):

And in writing this book, I consistently had to push that ego in myself down, and I consider myself a pretty open-minded sort of always researching, always listening type of person, but it's really hard to do. It's really hard to quell that skepticism. So, that would be the first thing I would say for leaders.

Rohit Bhargava (32:38):

The second is to the ability that you're able to, try new things for yourself. Take ChatGPT for example, I'm willing to bet that probably almost a hundred percent of people listening to this have heard of ChatGPT. A far lower percentage of those people would have tried it for themselves.

Jim Marous (32:58):

Which interesting, I bet to you and to me, that's an astounding number from the small-

Rohit Bhargava (33:04):

Well, it's not, I mean, not to go into judgment, because you could easily be like, "Well, what's wrong with you? Why didn't you try it?" But people are busy, and if it's not mission critical to what you need to do, maybe you didn't get a chance to try it.

Rohit Bhargava (33:19):

But the mindset that someone who is going to lead into the future normal, the mindset you have to have is when you hear about these things, it's worth trying out. It's worth giving a shot to. I'm not saying you got to go onto it every single day, but take an hour, which you could spare and try this for yourself.

[Music Playing]

Jim Marous (33:40):

Rohit as I mentioned to you when we asked you to be our guest, you were one of our very first podcast guests. In fact, you were a podcast guest that we had before we had a podcast. We met at the Financial Brand Forum which is coming up again in May.

Jim Marous (33:56):

And it was interesting because we sat down, we had a discussion, I had this idea of doing a podcast in the back of my mind, I got the recordings of six different guests that were at the event, and it turned into a podcast that now, four years later (I was about to say three again, Leah) is still going and has different outshoots.

Jim Marous (34:17):

So, I want to thank you for being one of the first guests, being one of the people that gave us your time and your intelligence to be able to do a really good episode back before we even had the YouTube version. So, thank you very much for joining us again.

Jim Marous (34:32):

Thanks for listening to Banking Transformed, the top podcast in retail banking and the winner of three international awards for podcast excellence. We appreciate the support we've received to make this an endeavor of success. If you enjoy what we're doing, please take some time to show some love in the form of a review.

Jim Marous (34:50):

Finally, be sure to catch my recent articles on The Financial Brand and the research we're doing on the Digital Banking Report.

Jim Marous (34:58):

This has been a production of Evergreen Podcasts. A special thank you to our senior producer, Leah Haslage; audio engineer, Chris Fafalios, and video producer, Will Pritts.

Jim Marous (35:09):

If you have not already done so, remember to subscribe to Banking Transformed on both your favorite podcast app and YouTube for more thought-provoking discussions on the intersection of finance, technology, and leadership.

Jim Marous (35:21):

Until next time, keep thriving, keep innovating and keep transforming.

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