A Japanese life insurer is laying off staff and replacing them with artificial intelligence machines – and several more are rumored to be considering doing the same.
Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance will install an AI system to calculate insurance payouts, letting go of 34 employees in the process, a BBC
The system will read medical certificates and gather data on surgeries and hospital stays in order to work out the totals.
The firm has said it expects to save around 140m yen (£979,500) a year in salary costs, and increase productivity by 30%.
The system, which will be installed later this month, will cost 200m yen, and maintenance costs are expected to cost around 15m yen per year.
According to a report from Japan’s The Mainichi
, the system is based on IBM Japan’s ‘Watson’, described by IBM as “cognitive technology that can think like a human.”
According to IBM, the program can “analyze and interpret all of your data, including unstructured text, images, audio and video.”
The rise of so-called robots has long been predicted by both research and fiction.
A World Economic Forum study last year predicted that the rise of AI and robotics would lead to the loss of 5.1 million jobs in the next five years across 15 countries.
Three other Japanese insurance companies are said to be considering installing AI systems to use for tasks such as finding the optimal cover plan for customers, The Mainichi
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