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New interview with Gerd Leonhard in TheGuardian: How we handle money, what we drive and how we even divorce will become cheaper and simpler soon, says a leading futurist

… just went online via TheGuardian (thanks to Juliet Stott)

“The way we bank, borrow money and buy products such as insurance, cars and legal services will change dramatically due to exponential advances in technology. Leading futurist Gerd Leonhard, whose clients include Vodafone, Prudential, Lloyds Bank and UBS, spoke to Guardian Money about how handling money will change more in the next 20 years than it has done in the previous 300.

“What’s happening in finance is what has already happened in music. Spotify digitised it, made it easier to access, more convenient and cost-efficient. People can access 20m songs for £10 a month, rather than £1 per song as before. A very similar change is going to happen with money and financial services,” says Leonhard.

In the not-too-distant future, transactions such as cross-border payments, small business and personal loans, and sharing the bill with friends, will be conducted within social networks and run by artificially intelligent systems. “Increasingly, things will be done by cloud apps and intelligent assistants. You won’t need the banks for that. It will be a boon for consumers,” claims Switzerland-based Leonhard.

Borrowing money

Forget going to a bank – soon you will turn to your friends and family, or those in your social network. The borrowing process will all be facilitated by digital platforms such as Facebook, Google, Alibaba and Baidu, divisions of which all have banking licences, so it’s not a question of if, but when. Currently, Leonhard says, this isn’t happening fast enough, but “within the next five years, low-level loans will be increasingly done via leading digital platforms”.

Buying a car

Where most families now own or lease their car, in the next five years they will subscribe to a mobility service, says Leonhard. “Non-ownership will rise, and people will borrow, share or use cars on demand.”

Last year, Cadillac launched a month-to-month subscription service called BOOK in New York, later extended to Los Angeles and Dallas. Subscribers pay a one-time $500 (£355) initiation fee and $1,800 monthly to access a “curated selection of vehicles”. This fee includes taxes, insurance and maintenance costs.

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