It’s clear artificial intelligence (AI) and automation will dramatically affect the job market, but there’s conflicting ideas on just how soon this will happen. Some believe it’s imminent — possibly fueled by developments like the Japanese insurance company replacing over 30 employees with robots — but it’s not that cut and dried. Many of the jobs that will be automated are the same jobs companies have been outsourcing for years: customer support, data entry, accounting, etc. Others are jobs they simply cannot fill due to decreases in headcount.
Either way, as transactions and expectations for real-time output increase, businesses are struggling to meet this demand and must digitize their operations to remain competitive. It’s the future of human labor. It’s not black and white, or good and evil, it’s simply the natural cycle of automation, just like we saw in the industrial revolution and will see again after AI becomes commonplace.
Adoption of AI and automation will be highest in regulated industries and those that must process thousands of transactions and customer requests daily. They are industries like banking, financial services, insurance, and health care — those with repetitive processes like copying and pasting that do not really require human intelligence. It’s the types of jobs/task within an organization that are repeatable and admin-heavy that will be automated first. In fact, in three examples in particular, we’re already seeing automation play a big role.
Reducing fraudulent claims in the insurance industry
The cost of fraudulent claims across all lines of insurance amounts to $80 billion a year, and well over half of insurers predict an increase in such fraud. Yet, despite the well-known pressures insurers face to correctly verify claims, they also get a bad rap for not doing so fast enough. That’s why the insurance industry is looking to advances in AI to both reduce fraudulent claims and improve customer service by speeding up the process.
Using machine learning, a subfield of AI, insurers can auto-validate policies, matching key facts from the claim to the policy and using cognitive analysis to determine whether the claim should be paid. These technologies can even transmit data into the system for downstream payment automatically and in a fraction of the time it would take a human to complete the same task. Humans are then elevated to tasks that really require their human intelligence and their customer service expertise.
Completing customer service requests in banking and financial services
Consumers have become accustomed to talking to bots, whether it’s asking Siri to find the closest dry cleaner or asking Amazon’s Alexa to add bananas to the grocery list. And the financial services and banking industries are no exception. More banks are reducing manual service efforts by offloading repetitive inquiries to AI-powered chatbots.
They’re training these bots on historical conversations so they can perform the same tasks as a human agent, conversing with customers to determine their needs and then, in the best scenarios, actually executing a business process to deliver against their intent. More complex conversations are escalated to a human agent, where they now have the time to handle with care; meanwhile, the chatbots are working in the background to learn from the outcome. Customers are happy because their needs are taken care of seamlessly and quickly, and banks are able to reduce the backlog of customer service requests.
Speeding up claims processing in the health care industry
The ultimate goal of every health care plan administrator is to ensure claims are received and processed accurately and on time. The sheer volume of claims makes this a difficult task. Making it harder, claims are submitted in various formats — fax, email, handwritten, etc. — and must be put in a standardized format before they’re processed. In fact, billing and insurance-related paperwork costs an estimated $375 billion annually.
Using advanced AI/machine learning technologies, health care providers can reduce the amount of time it takes to process a claim and respond to patients and providers. Not only does this improve patient satisfaction, it also lessens errors that can result in hefty financial losses and regulatory fines. While it won’t replace all health care administrators, it will help them redirect their resources toward critical, customer-facing activities.
According to a recent report by McKinsey Global Institute, almost every job has the potential to be automated, but more often than not, these jobs will require a combination of automation and human intelligence. There will be a tsunami of job loss relating to certain tasks — but this will push people into higher value work. Data entry may be automated, but creative thinking won’t be replaced by bots. AI is creating new efficiencies that will ultimately change the types of jobs that are in demand. This reality is happening more quickly in some industries than others, but it is unequivocally transforming the way work gets done.