These are the technologies that will transform finance over the next few decades

Jens Schlueter/Getty Images

Biometrics, cloud computing, cognitive computing, blockchain technology, machine learning, quantum computing, and robotics are set to transform financial services over the next few decades, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF).

WEF made the prediction in its “Future of Financial Infrastructure” report looking at blockchain technology, which was published on Friday.

The influential non-profit rates the transformative potential of these new technologies alongside past innovations such as the personal computer, the internet, and smartphones.

Here is a graphic WEF produced showing the financial innovations that technology has allowed over the past 50 years and showing what it sees as the next wave of innovative technologies:

WEF’s report focuses on blockchain technology — referred to as distributed ledger technology in the above graphic — so it does not actually give any concrete examples of how technologies other than blockchain might be applied to finance.

But there are already plenty of examples of the technology being used in real life. In machine learning, so-called “robo-advisers” are springing up giving automated financial advice. And major banks are using biometrics startups like BehavioSec to help identify customers by their “digital fingerprint.”

As for blockchain, the database technology developed to underpin digital currency bitcoin, WEF believes it will become the “beating heart” of financial services in the next few decades. The report looks at applications in insurance, payments, market provisioning, investment management, capital raising, and depositing and lending.

You can read more about WEF’s findings on blockchain here.

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