As technology and artificial intelligence (A.I.) advances, jobs in banks and offices are set to be replaced by automation, according to industry experts.
The clearest sign of how far A.I. has come was earlier this week, whenGoogle’s AlphaGo program won four out of five matches of the Chinese board game Go against champion Lee Sedol. AlphaGo’s victory was seen as a major milestone for A.I. due to the complexity of the board game.
But AlphaGo is only the tip of the iceberg for what A.I. can do, says Professor Andre Spicer, from Cass Business School.
“According to some scenarios, A.I. will quickly replace many forms of complex knowledge work ranging from lawyers to librarians, professors to policy analysts,” Spicer said in a press release.
“For instance, there are already robo-journalists which scour news feeds and then automatically generate stories. This could be a serious problem for developed economies where a large proportion of well-paid jobs are forms of knowledge work.”
Another occupation under threat from automation is the bank teller. In the future, ATMs will be able to perform most of their tasks, such as opening accounts and processing loans, according to Andy Mattes, CEO of software company Diebold.
“The ATM of tomorrow is going to replace the teller,” said Mattes. “It can do approximately 90 percent of what the human being can do and it’s going to be your branch in a box.”
ATMs will be able to perform these functions at a fraction of the cost compared to human employees, said Mattes, as they will be able to check and process any paperwork.
“The new machines will identify yourself: you can put your passport on it, they can scan documents, you can literally do anything online that you would’ve been able to do in front of a human being,” he explained.
Office work is also set to change. Earlier this week, Blue Prism announced plans to debut on the London Stock Exchange. The company, which grew 35 percent in 2015, develops “software robots” which can perform clerical and administration tasks.
“Software robots have been deployed successfully and strategically by large, blue chip organizations that have derived tremendous value from this new solution to the labor market,” said Alastair Bathgate, the company’s co-founder and CEO, in a press release. “It’s not science fiction.”
However, workers should not be overly worried. Previous technological revolutions, such as the rise of the computer, created millions of new jobs in IT and automation could create now work for existing employees, explained Spicer.
“If history is anything to go by A.I. may not do people out of job – it could actually create more tasks for already strained office workers to do,” he said.