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Job prospects under threat from robots (1)

A driverless car (also called a self-driving car or an autonomous vehicle) is a robotic vehicle that is designed to travel without a driver. In the next 10 years or so, taxis would be self-driving and might be common sight on public roads. Actually, Singapore is the first country to already put up to a dozen taxis on the roads for testing in August 2016 although it is relatively limited in scope. Taxi and delivery drivers will see their jobs dry up as autonomous vehicles hit the road.

Automation, which is both mechanized robots and artificially intelligent software program, is not only in mechanical labors and factory jobs. Future advances in robotic and artificial Intelligence (AI) will extend beyond blue-collar jobs and into white-collar jobs, such as legal, accounting, insurance and financial services. AI can now handle the knowledge-based work done by professionals. Job prospects in these fields will decline in the next decade.

One Japanese insurance company, Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance, is reportedly replacing 34 human medical insurance claims reps with an AI system on IBM’s Watson Explorer starting this year. This news made headlines as the first major example of AI “stealing” white-collar jobs. The AI will scan hospital records and other documents to determine insurance payouts. Automation of these research and data gathering tasks will help the remaining human workers process the final payout faster. Watson AI can analyze and interpret all of the data better and faster than a human can, according to a company representative.

A number of other Japanese insurers are reportedly already using AI systems, but it appears there have been no major staff cuts or reshuffling at the firm due to AI’s introduction.

(To be continued) (Floro Mercene)

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