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AI replacing Japanese white collar workers

by on03 January 2017

Beginning of the end

While most people have focused on factory robots and self-driving cars may kill off millions of jobs, the fact that AI will kill off white collar work has been quietly ignored.

Now one Japanese insurance company, Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance, has told 34 human insurance claim workers to clean out their desks because their jobs have been given to “IBM Watson Explorer”.

The AI will scan hospital records and other documents to determine insurance payouts, factoring injuries, patient medical histories, and procedures administered. Automation of these research and data gathering tasks will help the remaining human workers process the final payout faster, the company said.

Fukoku Mutual will spend $1.7 million to install the AI system, and $128,000 per year for maintenance.

Japan’s The Mainichi said the move will save the company $1.1 million per year on employee salaries by using the IBM software and will see a return on the investment in less than two years. It will also improve productivity by 30 percent.

Fukoku Mutual said the outfit was inspired by the use of similar IBM technology to analyse customer’s voices during complaints. The software typically takes the customer’s words, converts them to text, and analyses whether those words are positive or negative.

The Mainichi reports that three other Japanese insurance companies are testing or implementing AI systems to automate work such as finding ideal plans for customers.

Last modified on 03 January 2017
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