Recently, the Japanese insurance company Fukoku Mutual Life made the decision to reduce thirty-four employees and replace them with the IBM Watson Explorer AI. This is news that comes to us in the face of an understanding that as time goes on, computers and machines are going to take on an increasing number of jobs. These would be jobs that were once performed by humans.
At Fukoku Mutual Life, the IBM Watson Explorer AI is responsible for calculating payouts to policy holders. The firm believes it will increase productivity to a degree of thirty percent, while returning the investment within a period of less than two years. The firm has further indicated that it is expecting to save 140m yen per year, once the 200m yen per year AI unit has been installed. It is believed that maintaining the system is going to cost around 15m yen per year.
While the decision is being celebrated by those who are interested in efficiency and the bottom line, the decision is also naturally less popular with the employees who are being laid off. The move is also being viewed with significant concern by those who are still employed, but could perhaps become “redundant” later on, when a machine becomes capable of doing their job.
As the country considers utilizing AI in government work, a 2015 survey that comes to us from the Normura Research Institute suggests that nearly half of all the jobs in Japan will be replaced by robots by the year 2035.