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AI’s positive impact on data management is to be welcomed, not feared

Christine Parker, October 25, 2018

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Uncertainty and sometimes fear pervades much of the reported sentiment around artificial intelligence and robotic process automation and their impact on the workforce. Visions of futuristic, lifelike robots serving as replacements for humans can cloud the imagination and create nightmarish scenarios in a time of rapid technological change.

It’s undeniable that many industries, including financial services and payments, will be affected by emerging technologies. In fact, many are already implementing them. But now is not the time for despair. In fact, many organizations have cut through the hype to see the value that AI and robotics can provide to the workplace — enhancing human workers rather than replacing them.

Pega recently conducted a global study of 845 senior executives working globally across key industry sectors — including financial services, insurance, manufacturing, retail, telecommunications, and government — to determine how they are coping with massive changes underway at the workplace and how AI will impact every aspect of work in the coming years. By and large these executives, particularly those in the financial services industry, believe AI and robotics will change the future of work for the better.

Humans have long demonstrated remarkable success at adapting to new technologies and finding opportunities from it. For example, when ATMs emerged, they improved efficiency and “time to cash” for consumers, while minimizing costs for banks and enabling them to elevate the tasks for traditional bank tellers to driving stronger customer relationships.

Looking ahead, 83 percent of surveyed financial services executives agree that the term “workforce” will eventually come to encapsulate both human employees and intelligent machines. A core aspect to that belief is the projection that AI and robotics will work ubiquitously alongside humans, empowering them to elevate their responsibilities and take on more of a leadership role.

Tedious, manual tasks can consume the workday for many professionals. Robotic process automation changes the game, enabling the automated transfer of data between different systems and bringing significant levels of improved efficiency to the organization, according to three out of four industry executives. Four out of five expect this technology to be effective in maximizing an organization’s human resources and opening the door to performing more varied and fulfilling roles.

While RPA removes some of the monotonous work, AI positively augments human decision-making. In fact, four out of five financial services executives believe that support from AI will allow workers to make informed decisions at a more junior level, flattening traditional hierarchies. And while the majority are merely implementing AI pilot projects — if they’re using AI at all — to support decision-making, nearly two out of three expect AI used for decision-making will support humans in the workforce in the next 10 years.

This article was licensed through Dow Jones Direct.