Projects & Observations
We are focused on the social trends that could shape the future and the tech tools that may drive it. Our projects are informed and influenced by our engagement with experts across the research, tech and design spectrums. In this space, we share what we’re learning, what’s inspiring, and what’s next.
Emerging Technology
BY: Jacob Kozhipatt | March 1, 2023
The report is the result of extensive analysis of societal trends and emerging technologies by the FCAT research team. Its eight chapters dive into key themes in technology and culture and will be made available over the coming weeks. Until then, here is a sneak preview into what to expect and how the findings could impact the future of finance and beyond.
BY: Jacob Kozhipatt | February 27, 2023
MIT’s XR Hackathon is one of the prestigious competitions in immersive tech. A majority of applicants come from the United States, China, and India. The background of the attendees reflected the demographic change that’s occurred in the broader XR space. What happens at the hackathon?
Artificial Intelligence
BY: SARAH HOFFMAN | March 10, 2022
Can the design process be enhanced or improved by the power of AI? After a recent Artificial Intelligence Club event, Columbia University’s Lydia Chilton sat down with FCAT’s Sarah Hoffman to discuss the potential of AI as a creative tool. Chilton is an Assistant Professor in the Computer Science Department and is an early pioneer in deconstructing complex problems so that crowds and computers can solve them together.
BY: Robert Hoffman | October 5, 2021
FCAT teams have been experimenting with Virtual Reality since 2014. Prompted by Zoom fatigue after 1.5 years of working remotely, several teams within Fidelity are exploring VR as a better way to work together. Some use the VR loaner program provided by FCAT, while others buy their own headsets and develop customized applications.
BY: ADAM SCHOUELA | September 17, 2021
National business publication Business Insider recently detailed 15 innovative tech projects at some of the nation’s leading financial services firms. FCAT Emerging Tech leader Adam Schouela and his team were cited for their exploratory collaboration with Amazon Web Services’ Braket building proofs of concepts around market index behavior. The article also featured links to FCAT videos of how quantum works, and how it might be used in retirement planning and wealth management. See more at Business Insider.
BY: ADAM SCHOUELA AND ELTON ZHU | September 15, 2021
This PoC showcases how quantum computing can be used to generate high-quality synthetic data, and thus help in backtesting financial models.
Ever wanted to look under the hood of a quantum computer? Or see how quantum computing might dramatically improve investment simulations? The Emerging Tech team has just published two new explorations of quantum computing, with insights into how it works and how it may impact financial services.
Emerging Tech Project
BY: Jamie Barras | March 31, 2021
“What’s a Qubit?” is a virtual reality experience designed to teach fundamental building blocks of quantum computing through a virtual reality immersive experience.

The experience allows you to fly through a quantum computer at the size of a single molecule and witness the truly strange world of quantum mechanics up close. 
BY: ADAM SCHOUELA | March 31, 2021
There has been a lot of news about how quantum computers will change computing as we know it. That said, a general-purpose quantum computer that will have the capability of replacing the classical computers we use every day may perpetually be out of reach. At Fidelity, we do not need to wait for a general-purpose quantum computer. There are a few specific types of problems that quantum computers will likely be able to tackle in the near term and optimization problems just so happen to be one of those types of problems. FCAT is positioning Fidelity to be able to leverage this new technology the moment it becomes viable by exploring the optimization algorithms and implementations that have the most potential to deliver value to Fidelity and our customers.
BY: Alessandro Vigilante & Caroline Federal | December 3, 2020
Until recently, the cognitive load of almost all financial decisions has remained with individual users. But now, the ability to source and collect reams of data, combined with rapid progress in artificial intelligence, lays the groundwork for autonomous finance – freeing individuals from routine decisions, so they can focus on living the life they want.
BY: ALESSANDRO VIGILANTE | November 20, 2020
As the as-a-Service business model keeps expanding from infrastructure to applications, financial services capabilities and products are being re-built to benefit from, and participate in, the platform economy.
FCAT Research
BY: DEANNA LAUFER | November 10, 2020
Just as COVID-19 has inspired a wave of invention across industries, a new breed of green fintechs are tackling climate change via financial innovation in payment, lending, trading, investment, and insurance.
FCAT Research
BY: Sarah Hoffman | October 30, 2020
Technologies have been getting smaller, and smarter, for a long time. But recent developments in miniaturization have changed the game. In medicine, nanotherapies – where nanoparticles (larger than an atom or a molecule, but smaller than a bulk solid) deliver a drug to a given location in the body – are within reach. Researchers at Stanford School of Medicine found that drug-coated nanoparticles reduce the buildup of plaque in mouse arteries without causing negative side effects.1 Drones also are shrinking, some as small as a quarter. And advances in materials design mean that sensors and networking capabilities can be baked right into walls and desks for stronger, more energy efficient buildings. Even space exploration is getting small; CubeSat’s mini satellite is a mere 10 x 10 x 10 cm.
BY: SETH BROOKS | October 22, 2020
Humans have enjoyed an intimate and physical relationship with technology and how they have interacted with tools throughout time. Throughout history the tools created by people have the same two basic characteristics: tools require that a user manipulate them through some physical input, and the tool or some connected object will respond accordingly and provide user feedback via an externally observable output. For example, at the dawn of time a person might hit a sharp stone tool against a branch (the input) and then see the tool’s effect from the cuts created in the bark (the externally observable output).
Facing a global pandemic and a continuing need to bring on new team members, Fidelity recently turned to FCAT for help in creating an immersive, interactive onboarding experience for employees. The test program was initiated to explore an alternative to face-to-face orientation.
Today, FCAT is sharing its recent experimentation with quantum computing using Amazon Braket.

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