#AI: The Future of Finance, Shopping, and Society

14 August 2023 - 1 min read


Sebastian Siemiatkowski

CEO of Klarna


In the nine months since ChatGPT launched, AI has been hailed and denounced in equal measure. According to its cheerleaders, AI will help us

, and . Skeptics say it will .

The reality is more nuanced.

For Klarna, AI will turbo-charge our mission to transform banking to be rooted in customer value, not customer revenue, and it will revolutionize the way we shop. But, among the many positives, we also need to acknowledge the more uncomfortable societal changes AI will present.

AI – the consumer’s most promising ally

I’ve said for a long time that the banking industry has lost sight of what’s best for the consumer, which is why I started Klarna to be a better value, fairer alternative.. AI will finally put the consumer back into focus.

Imagine a world in which your best and most reliable financial adviser is your phone. One morning, it tells you that it analysed your mortgage overnight, as well as your spending patterns and the interest-rate outlook. It has suggested that you’d be better off switching providers, and it can make that happen for you. To save ten dollars a month, all you have to do is click “Yes”, and it will take care of everything for you. As simple as that. AI-powered tools could make that future a reality in the next few years.

The implications of such a system for traditional banking could be profound. Banks profit largely from the ‘interest rate spread’, often possible because the average consumer lacks the time to shop for better options. AI can slice through this gap, providing options that are just a tap away, forcing banks to compete on value and better products, not entrapment.

That’s why at Klarna we are going all-in on AI. We want Klarna to be the digital financial assistant which looks out for consumers by helping them save time and money, and worry less. Nine months ago this was a long-term vision; AI has made it a genuine possibility much quicker.

How AI Will Change Shopping.

Today, in the Western world, the majority of consumers find the products they want with a search, either via a search engine or a retailer’s website directly.

In China – an advanced ecommerce market, it was the same experience a few years ago: 80% of ecommerce was driven by search and 20% was product recommendations. Today, that has flipped; 80% of Chinese e-commerce is driven by AI-powered recommendation engines that find the best products for you.

Instead of spending hours searching for products manually, the technology does the heavy lifting. It understands your favorite style and preferences and presents the best options from the start. This saves consumers valuable time and reduces frustration and ‘decision fatigue’, leaving more time to get on with life.

We recently launched the new Klarna app, powered by an

to help consumers find and shop items most relevant to them. The feed updates in real time with a range of products and deals and becomes increasingly personalized, as it learns more about the user’s preferences. This is in addition to our to bring curated product recommendations to users who ask ChatGPT for shopping advice and inspiration, via its plugin.

The Societal Impact of AI.

As we forge ahead into the AI era, we must also be open about the potential challenges AI brings to society, not least in the composition of jobs. It is true that new jobs will be created, and it will hopefully make existing jobs more fun by automating boring tasks.

However, Goldman Sachs has estimated that

and that’s probably realistic: entire professions can be automated at a stroke.

The tech industry needs to be honest about this impact and politicians and leaders across the world need to think about how we support people through this change. It’s not realistic for a 55-year-old translator whose job gets outsourced to AI to retrain in something entirely different and on similar pay. It’s vital for us, as a collective force of society, businesses, governments, and individuals, to confront this issue head-on and put in place a plan to help people.

The influence of AI is transformative, redefining how we bank, shop, and live. Klarna is driving this revolution, exploring how we can use AI to enhance our financial lives and shopping experiences. Yet, as we embrace this brave new world, it’s crucial we ensure it is a world in which everyone is included and empowered. Let’s celebrate the possibilities, be optimistic about what lies ahead, and at the same time, be aware, talk about, and plan for the challenges that will arise as we shape our AI-powered future.

Up Next

Copyright © 2005-2024 Klarna. Klarna Financial Services UK Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) for carrying out regulated consumer credit activities (firm reference number 987889), and for the provision of payment services under the Payment Services Regulations 2017 (firm reference number 987816). Klarna Financial Services UK Ltd offers both regulated and unregulated products. Klarna’s Pay in 3 instalments and Pay in 30 days agreements are not regulated by the FCA. Incorporated in England (company number 14290857), with its registered office at 10 York Road, London, SE1 7ND.