FinTech Daily: The robot that takes your job should pay taxes, says Bill Gates; JPMorgan Software D
The robot that takes your job should pay taxes, says Bill Gates
Robots are taking human jobs. But Bill Gates believes that governments should tax companies’ use of them, as a way to at least temporarily slow the spread of automation and to fund other types of employment.
It’s a striking position from the world’s richest man and a self-described techno-optimist who co-founded Microsoft, one of the leading players in artificial-intelligence technology.
In a recent interview with Quartz, Gates said that a robot tax could finance jobs taking care of elderly people or working with kids in schools, for which needs are unmet and to which humans are particularly well suited. He argues that governments must oversee such programs rather than relying on businesses, in order to redirect the jobs to help people with lower incomes. The idea is not totally theoretical: EU lawmakers considered a proposal to tax robot owners to pay for training for workers who lose their jobs, though on Feb. 16 the legislators ultimately rejected it.
“You ought to be willing to raise the tax level and even slow down the speed” of automation, Gates argues. That’s because the technology and business cases for replacing humans in a wide range of jobs are arriving simultaneously, and it’s important to be able to manage that displacement. “You cross the threshold of job replacement of certain activities all sort of at once,” Gates says, citing warehouse work and driving as some of the job categories that in the next 20 years will have robots doing them.
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JPMorgan Software Does in Seconds What Took Lawyers 360,000 Hours
At JPMorgan Chase & Co., a learning machine is parsing financial deals that once kept legal teams busy for thousands of hours.The program, called COIN, for Contract Intelligence, does the mind-numbing job of interpreting commercial-loan agreements that, until the project went online in June, consumed 360,000 hours of work each year by lawyers and loan officers. The software reviews documents in seconds, is less error-prone and never asks for vacation.
Image ref: bloomberg.com
While the financial industry has long touted its technological innovations, a new era of automation is now in overdrive as cheap computing power converges with fears of losing customers to startups. Made possible by investments in machine learning and a new private cloud network, COIN is just the start for the biggest U.S. bank. The firm recently set up technology hubs for teams specializing in big data, robotics and cloud infrastructure to find new sources of revenue, while reducing expenses and risks.
The push to automate mundane tasks and create new tools for bankers and clients -- a growing part of the firm’s $9.6 billion technology budget -- is a core theme as the company hosts its annual investor day on Tuesday.
Behind the strategy, overseen by Chief Operating Officer Matt Zames and Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy, is an undercurrent of anxiety: Though JPMorgan emerged from the financial crisis as one of few big winners, its dominance is at risk unless it aggressively pursues new technologies, according to interviews with a half-dozen bank executives.
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Category: Machine Learning
Japanese company replaces office workers with artificial intelligence
Image ref: theguardian.com
A future in which human workers are replaced by machines is about to become a reality at an insurance firm in Japan, where more than 30 employees are being laid off and replaced with an artificial intelligence system that can calculate payouts to policyholders.
Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance believes it will increase productivity by 30% and see a return on its investment in less than two years. The firm said it would save about 140m yen (£1m) a year after the 200m yen (£1.4m) AI system is installed this month. Maintaining it will cost about 15m yen (£100k) a year.
The move is unlikely to be welcomed, however, by 34 employees who will be made redundant by the end of March.
The system is based on IBM’s Watson Explorer, which, according to the tech firm, possesses “cognitive technology that can think like a human”, enabling it to “analyse and interpret all of your data, including unstructured text, images, audio and video”.
The technology will be able to read tens of thousands of medical certificates and factor in the length of hospital stays, medical histories and any surgical procedures before calculating payouts, according to the Mainichi Shimbun.
While the use of AI will drastically reduce the time needed to calculate Fukoku Mutual’s payouts – which reportedly totalled 132,000 during the current financial year – the sums will not be paid until they have been approved by a member of staff, the newspaper said.Japan’s shrinking, ageing population, coupled with its prowess in robot technology, makes it a prime testing ground for AI.
According to a 2015 report by the Nomura Research Institute, nearly half of all jobs in Japan could be performed by robots by 2035. Dai-Ichi Life Insurance has already introduced a Watson-based system to assess payments - although it has not cut staff numbers - and Japan Post Insurance is interested in introducing a similar setup, the Mainichi said.
AI could soon be playing a role in the country’s politics. Next month, the economy, trade and industry ministry will introduce AI on a trial basis to help civil servants draft answers for ministers during cabinet meetings and parliamentary sessions.
The ministry hopes AI will help reduce the punishingly long hours bureaucrats spend preparing written answers for ministers. If the experiment is a success, it could be adopted by other government agencies, according the Jiji news agency.
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Category: Artificial Intelligence