The Journal of Digital Assets

  • Volume 1
  • August 2023
  • Issue 2
  • How Human Can a Robo-Advisor Be? Examining Intensified Anthropomorphism of a Robo-Advisory System
  • Lucy Yow
  • First Published: 08 August 2023
  • Abstract | Full Text(488) | PDF download(158)


Innovations in financial services have led to the rise of Robo-Advisor (“RA”) platforms.

This paper does a literature survey of existing RA studies, and explores the reasons why RAs have not been widely adopted despite their benefits. There may be due to the need for human interaction, especially within the investment advisory context. Resistance also tends to be stronger amongst certain demographic groups. Unique demographic, attitudinal, and behavioral drivers result in a lack of trust in the technology. RA systems may also have limitations in designs and functions, which impede user adoption. Recent trends have seen the exploration of anthropomorphism in RAs to bridge the human-digital gap.

The paper uses the results of a reference study (“Reference Study”) which anthropomorphized an AI using a VR setting, and relates it to the different adoption paradigms in the current literature. It then challenges some prevailing assumptions in the current academic discourse, which posit that adoption behaviors are intrinsically constrained by users’ own demographic characteristics or predispositions. It suggests that further research undertakes differentiated inquiry methodologies for unique demographic groups. This study aims to inspire more diverse and sophisticated approaches of applying AI to RAs, thereby enabling a broader dissemination of financial services.

Keywords: Robo-Advisory, Digital Assets, Artificial Intelligence, Web3, Disruption, Financial Inclusion