An insurance firm in Japan is beginning to move towards bringing science fiction into reality. The artificial intelligence, modeled after IBM’s watson, is set to replace 34 employees in Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance. The robot will be used to process and calculate payouts to insurance policyholders.
According to The Guardian, Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance believes that its productivity will increase by 30 percent. The Artificial Intelligence cost is around 200 million yen ($1.73 million), but is expected to pay itself off via savings within two years or less.
The Artificial intelligence isn’t perfect yet, as it will still need human oversight to sign off on the calculations it reaches. Still, this is indicative of what’s to come. The rising financial interest in non-human labor is poised to threaten a vast amount of jobs within coming decades. Just take a look about predictions concerning driverless cars.
Another insurance company called Dai-Ichi Life Insurance has also taken on a Watson-esque AI, but it has not yet cut workers. Other companies, such as Japan Post Insurance, are considering the measure as well. For a different set of applications, AI could similarly assist bureaucrats in drafting written answers for parliamentary sessions, rather than having the politicians slave for hours to keep up with the paper trail. Ultimately this makes the case that congress shouldn’t receive them, as they need no more excuse to be lazy these days.
Fear not, the robot takeover is not fully possible yet. Recently an AI was developed that sought to pass the entrance exam to Tokyo University. Apparently, its resume wasn’t as stellar as was hoped. Noriko Arai, a professor at the National Institute of Informatics, claims that “AI is not good at answering the type of questions that require an ability to grasp meanings across a broad spectrum.“
These days it feels like Terminator is super close to being a reality. Yet as Elon Musk believes, these sorts of advances will give us a more interesting life in the long run. As capitalism and the "work to live” mentality begins to fade, life’s opportunities will be far more broad.
That’s one way to be okay with robo-dictators.