Insurance Firm Fires Staff, Replaces them With Robots

Posted by Nicole Williams on 06 January 2017

A future in which humans are actually replaced by robots is about to become a reality for one insurance firm in Japan, where more than 30 employees are being made redundant and replaced with artificial intelligence systems that can calculate payouts to those who hold policies with the company.

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 around 140m yen (£1m) per year after the 200m yen (£1.4m) AI system is installed later this month. Maintaining the system will cost the company around 15m yen (£100k) per year.

The move is predictably not supported by the 34 employees who will be made redundant by the end of March.

The system that will be used is based on IBM’s Watson Explorer, which according to the tech firm possesses ‘cognitive technologies that can think like a human’ which enables 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 which were needed before calculating how much should be paid out to each client.

However, whilst the use of AI will drastically reduce the time needed to calculate payouts, the sums will not be paid to clients until they are checked over and approved by a member of staff.

What do you think of the idea that robots could be replacing humans at their jobs? Let us know!