What even is Westworld?
This is probably the least philosophical question around the show. Seriously, doesn’t each season have you questioning your existence at points with its ethical spin? Westworld is about a futuristic, Western-themed theme park. The plot centres around human guests, referred to as “Newcomers”, who visit a park, that is essentially a simulation of the Wild Wild West filled with humanoids referred to as “Hosts”, where they do whatever they please with no consequences or constrains. However, the plot starts to thicken, when some of the “Hosts” begin to glitch and start developing a conscience.
How are fintech and Westworld similar?
“You and everyone you know were built to gratify the desires of the people who visit your world.” – Bernard Lowe
The Hosts were literally designed to exist at the disposal of Newcomers, to gratify the wants and desires of each guest and make their experience at Westworld the best it could be. During an individual’s time in the theme park, Hosts respond to their desires, guiding them on a very unique and violent journey of self-discovery.
This approach to customer care is very much in alignment with many fintechs, including Unlimint, just without the part of bioengineering. Stripping it back even just to the terminology of Hosts and Newcomers, or guests, there’s much to be said about the dynamic between them. Fintechs often have to put themselves in the shoes of their “guests” aka clients, so that they can better understand their needs, avoid risks or issues and create a truly seamless experience for them. For instance, numerous innovations created by fintechs centre around the lackings in our more engrained institutions. Banks who are unable to facilitate cross-border payments at a faster rate and without mitigating high costs which are deflected onto the senders. Fintech solutions have opened payment corridors which facilitate cross-border payments in almost real time, safely, conveniently and with lower costs.
The robots in Westworld are loaded with machine learning capabilities, high-end tech and human-like character design to provide Newcomers with a realistic and engaging experience which centres around their wishes. It’s comparable to say that fintechs hold similar values as the ‘hosts’ in our reality, supporting ‘newcomers’ with making better decisions for their businesses, whether it comes to money, security, technology and beyond. If we look at the world of fintech as a mirror of Westworld for a moment, we can see correlation that ‘newcomers’ come to our world to express themselves, unhindered by the regulations and tribulations they encounter in more traditional services. *Tips cowboy hat*.
Delos Robotics and Incite made their robots and amusement park experience to be user friendly – from its virtual assistants to its quadcopters. Innovation, right!? Fintech innovations have been cultivated to plug the gaps which hinder a seamless experience. Yes, we know that in Westworld it’s not so seamless with rogue Hosts and violent duels, but the premise is the same… mostly.
Alternative payment solutions, for instance, are designed to create accessibility for all and in a way that is user-friendly to the culture and environment which they reside in. We, at Unlimint, speak from experience because we keep a presence on the ground, at local level to better understand the behaviours and preferences of locals, and in turn the experience they are offered is more tailored and user friendly. Because honestly and logically speaking, there’s little point in offering mobile payments in a country where smartphone ownership is relatively low.
Moreover, simplified checkout processes like one-click checkout and integration of Apple and Google pay create a simplified checkout experience. There are innumerable services out there which offer a sense of hospitality and simplification for everyday activities. Using new technologies and machine learning create an efficient and effective experience that applies to the country, local region, and individual preference.
Building upon the user-friendly ethos, we found the application stage of visiting Westworld rather similar to the process of onboarding a client with KYC (know your customer). Guests attending the park were encouraged to talk about their desires and were studied to make sure that they had the best possible experience during their time there. It’s a similar construct in the world of fintech, because bringing in new clients is no simple feat, and require the attention to detail and what it is that the client truly wants for their business.
The future of entertainment lies in AI, with VR and AR creating a replacement dimension to the way we run businesses and spend our free time. Season 3 of Westworld smoothly brought in Incite noting “the future is powered by you and we know you. Insight is different…We have unprecedented computer capabilities analysing data from life’s most unsolvable problems…The possibilities are limitless”. They address that by suggesting that Newcomers can protect the climate and find a career with this technology– essentially with no bounds and continual learning to help customers with their every need to improve their lives and the environment around them.
It’s similar in the world of fintech, as we see more payment service providers using fintech to make lending decisions, offer customer support, protect customers against fraud, manage wealth and so much more. AI in the fintech market alone has been predicted to reach US$ 54 billion globally by 2032. Companies, both fintech and non-tech, have been adopting AI solutions to enhance their business efficiency at a faster pace. By learning about customers and their behaviours, the consumer experience is improved much like it is in Westworld.
We see more customer services in our society that are run by bots, who use customer information to resolve issues and provide 24/7 customer service. Westworld conveys how pre-existing services in our everyday world, like brick-and-mortar stores and customer service teams, are being replaced by a digital equivalent that is readily available. In Westworld, the Hosts’ ability to learn about their guests through AI provides them with a better experience that suits their individual preferences, all thanks to their machine learning abilities. In recent decades we’ve seen an increase in data usage to feed machine learning for the benefit of our consumer world. This bodes a question inspired by Westworld – how could we revolutionise customer experience by combining AI with more person-centred computing?
At Unlimint we believe that a tailored approach to providing our solutions is the most effective way to provide a holistic service to our ‘newcomers’. It is our commitment to our guests and making sure we bring their vision to life with financial services that sets us apart. And we promise you that we won’t be detonating our experts or turning against our clients any time soon. Sorry Westworld, we had to draw the line somewhere.