The increasing use of artificial intelligence will have a great impact on employees, management and jobs. As technology improves, it is inevitable we’ll no longer rely on people for a range of tasks within jobs. Already AI is been shown to be more effective at specific tasks.
"The combination of a human service and virtual digital assistant or even physical robot could provide a more powerful set of skills.”
Right now, the rate of technological change is driving examination of what regulation and legislation changes are needed for AI to make a positive contribution and win societal acceptance. At ANZ, we are of course looking particularly closely at how AI will play out in the banking sector – how it can be used to help customers, makes us more efficient and innovative.
The good news is I don’t think the role of human workers will ever be truly eliminated.
The teaming of human service and virtual digital or even physical robotic assistance provides a more powerful set of skills and interactions than customers can currently access.
Having said that, change is unavoidable.
Routine processing jobs in operational roles, such as matching amounts on documents, are likely to see the most change – in particular where the tasks can be readily codified.
In financial services, many of the high volume, repetitive tasks performed by tellers, financial analysts and asset managers could be performed by virtual assistants allowing a human to focus on higher-value personalised service and other nuanced tasks.
At ANZ, we’re actively working to become a more focused and simpler bank, because this will help us provide a greater level of personalised and differentiated customer service.
And there are numerous ways AI may help us deliver better for our customers.
For example, when a customer is searching for a home loan, AI could be used to identify the customer’s information, preferences and access big data to render a personalised set of recommendations.
This could create a unique proposition for the customer within minutes of commencing an enquiry.
As useful as this capability is, the research tells us people still want face-to-face contact and to work with someone when making life-changing decisions such as buying a home or starting a business.
Despite their availability 24/7 and calculation capabilities, machine intelligence can’t currently handle highly variable, nuanced, rare or new situations especially well. Most importantly, it cannot build rapport with customers.
However they are very good at answering simple questions, seeking structured information, working with routine and identifying repeatable patterns. Importantly, we’re seeing machines getting better at detecting sentiment – which is essential for coordinating appropriate and timely hand-over to a human counterpart.
As with any major disruption to an industry, we must look carefully at the ethical considerations for the use of AI in financial services.
Banks and financial services are subject to strict responsible lending obligations. The same checks and balances that apply to human staff would be required if machines were programmed to give recommendations and advice.
There may also be customer or community backlash if there is a perception that machines are taking away jobs, specifically entry level jobs or removing ‘rungs on the ladder’. For this reason we are actively working on reskilling pathways in software engineering and working with our teams on skills of the future.
We cannot truly predict the effect of AI on the workforce, but one thing is for sure – changes are happening as we speak and organisations, including banks, need to step up with an open mind.