We asked several industry leaders to speculate on what the wealth management industry will look like in the year 2037. This one is from Adam Seifer, co-founder of Everplans.
What will happen when people can make a full backup of their entire brain or consciousness? In the next 20 years, we may be reaching the point where we will be able to upload ourselves into some type of device, whether it’s a robot or the latest version of an Amazon Echo. Mind-blowing as that may be, consider the new problems that will crop up when it comes to “ownership”: How will we make sure our digital selves are managed properly when we aren't available to do it? Upon death, will a spouse be allowed to take ownership of the digital backup and, perhaps, even create a virtual dungeon to torture you for thousands of years?
If you believe in the possibilities for technology, the issues aren’t that far-fetched.
Today, people are capturing and storing more and more of their lives digitally. Even now, we need to be cognizant of version control. When it comes to things like wills and beneficiary designations, we're still going to have official legal documents, but settling disputes over which version is the latest, or the canonical, version will be completely different. Video capture technology is evolving rapidly; with virtual reality rigs you can capture what’s around you instead of what’s directly in front of you. To go along with this, we’ll be creating products that will allow us to queue up past moments and see what was going on in all directions. Everyone will know if the legal document was properly witnessed or if someone was being coerced or tricked.
This means ownership and access to full life recordings are going to be a high-stakes topic from an estate perspective. Managing access, availability and indexing is going to be a bigger part of the conversation. You might want your adult children to have access, but only after you’re gone. And I think there are going to be very powerful opportunities for financial services professionals to come up with new ways to leverage this content in both the planning and probate processes.
How these advances play out will pave the way for what happens when people can make a full backup of their entire consciousness. That’s when things will get really interesting.