Fintech: Who Will Pay The Mortgage If Robots Take Our Jobs?

fintech is comingTechnology was supposed to be the savior of mankind and you have to admit it’s been great. Dogs are being cloned, drones are taking out the bad guys, and farmers are more productive. The only people who can still use a slide rule remember when Eisenhower was in office.

But, unfortunately, there is the little matter of ending civilization.

If you’re thinking of clone battles, forget it. We won’t get that far. Instead, consider what happens as jobs disappear. In some cases, it’s true, the loss of certain jobs is no doubt a good thing. No one wants a job which is mind-numbing, dirty, dangerous or degrading. As an example, the loss of the secretarial pool from the 1970s is not a loss at all, it represents the end of fossilized, misogynistic, sweat shops designed to assure that women never rise in the ranks, much less get equal pay.

The problem is that each advance in computers, artificial intelligence, technology, and robotics – all sides of the same puzzle – may be less positive and productive than we think. After all, if technology is so great why is it that median household incomes are down 7.2 percent since 1999? Haven’t we had a lot of technological advances since then?

We’re not just talking about abstract ideas which will take place in the far, far future. Jobs and income today are less certain than at any point since the end of World War II, major reasons why both the Republican and Democratic parties are now awash with turmoil and tumult. As Pearl Bailey, the great singer, explained, “an empty stomach makes for open ears.”

A lot of bright and informed people, individuals who are not Luddites, see technology as a mixed bag; a source of wonder and yet something with the potential to demolish our job base and with it our economy and society.

“I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence,” said Bill Gates, speaking on Reddit. “First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don’t understand why some people are not concerned.”

And if we don’t manage it well?

“The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race,” Stephen Hawking told the BBC.

Mortgages & Fintech

In the world of real estate and mortgages the new buzzword is financial technology or fintech. It sounds so alluring, productive, and profitable. We are now at the cusp of loan origination systems where borrowers search online for financing, apply with a series of screens, upload documents in response to emails, and maybe never speak with a loan officer.

This process sounds great, especially for hermits with solid credit scores and germaphobes, but it does raise a problem: What happens to the armies of loan officers and processors we now employ? Is technological disruption real?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics we currently have 303,000 loan officers who earn on average $63,450 and together pull in $19.2 billion a year. You can look at this and say how great, lending has added 300,000 people to the middle class. Or, you can ask, looking ahead do we really need to spend $19 billion when fintech can do much of the same job, if not today than not too far into the future? Wouldn’t shareholders be better off?

Is it possible that 300,000 loan officers will be employed in a decade? Twenty years? Time marches on – and so does fintech.

It’s not just the lending industry which is in transition, it’s every trade, profession, and business. Where are the replacement jobs? And if there are fewer jobs, or jobs that don’t pay as well, then how does the mortgage get paid? Who will be able to apply for a loan, whether the application process is automated or not?

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4 Comments on "Fintech: Who Will Pay The Mortgage If Robots Take Our Jobs?"

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  1. Volcano says:

    Two years ago 33 percent of the people who communicated With Eugene Goostman thought he was real — he was actually a computer.


  2. GeorgeTS says:

    Google is working on a “button” to stop runaway AI projects. So they NEED a button.


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