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Artificial Intelligence Starts Replacing Human Employees, It Starts With Insurance Companies

AI.Royonx/Wikimedia

Workers have been dreading the day that they would be replaced by machines since the idea of artificial intelligence was introduced to the mainstream consciousness. Now, their worst fears have come, with companies starting to get rid of human workers en masse and using AIs in their stead. One of the better examples that hint at a more automated future is Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance Co., a Japanese insurance firm that just laid off over 30 people.

The AI that is replacing nearly three dozen workers will be responsible for the calculation of payouts by policyholders, Futurism reports. This is seen as a positive development by the firm, which states that the use of a machine in place of humans would be quite beneficial to them.

The company is particularly looking forward to the supposed increase in productivity brought on by the machine, with an estimated 30 percent improvement and a two-year return of investment as principal factors for using the AI. According to The Mainichi’s coverage of the matter, much of the costs of buying and installing the machine will be recouped via millions saved after terminating the employees.

“The insurance firm will spend about 200 million yen to install the AI system, and maintenance is expected to cost about 15 million yen annually,” the Japanese publication writes. “Meanwhile, it’s expected that Fukoku Mutual will save about 140 million yen per year by cutting the 34 staff.”

All well and good for the firm, but the 34 workers who just got canned are obviously not going to be too thrilled about getting replaced by a bunch of codes. This is just the beginning as well, The Guardian notes, at least in Japan.

Due to the unique position of the country in terms of societal, political, and technological conditions, it has become an ideal spot for testing AI use. The fields expected to benefit from responsive machines include everything from the food industry to government assistance.

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