Watson replaces 34 insurance workers in Japan

If you aren't freaking out over AI yet, now would be a good time to start.

We keep hearing how artificial intelligence won't leave people jobless, but instead will leave them with more time to tackle more demanding issues. However, if a Japanese insurance company is any indicator, that story won't hold water.

Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance Company just announced that it will 'replace 34 claim workers with IBM's Watson Explorer'. 

So yeah, 34 white-collar employees got replaced by a robot. 

IBM's Watson, an artificial intelligence system that's been making plenty of headlines lately, will be tasked with reading medical documents, and then using that information to determine payouts. It will base its conclusions on the injury involved, medical history and administered procedures. 

The setup itself will cost the company $1.7 million (£1.4m approximately), and maintenance will cost roughly £104,000 a year ($128,000). With these figures, the company believes it will save $1.1 million every year and “reduce the burden of business process by about 30 per cent.”

This is not Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance Company’s first foray into artificial intelligence. According to Discover Magazine, it’s already using Watson Explorer to analyse customer complaint recordings. It can convert spoken words into text, and determine if the language is mainly positive, or mainly negative.

There has been many talk about artificial intelligence in the workforce, and while experts claim it will not leave people jobless, some claim many jobs will disappear in the near future.

Jobs like truck driving, cashiers, or even analytics, might disappear completely in the next five to ten years. 

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