Independent financial industry commentator Chris Skinner describes a conversation with a senior banker, who told him that he was in charge of the Artificial Intelligence program in the bank.
Skinner writes: I was impressed as he is part of the executive leadership team of the bank and not the CIO. We have invested widely across the board in AI, he told me, and achieved great results. Sure, I hear that a lot. How many people have you laid off as a result? I asked. I always like numbers, and most bank AI developments appear focused upon cost savings. Less than you would think, he replied, in fact no one.
I was surprised and wondered what the point of AI is, if it’s not to automate jobs. He replied that this is not the intent of AI at all. The aim is more efficiency, more processing, more capabilities and generally more intelligence. It is to augment the human process, not replace it.
I asked him what happened with people whose jobs are automated then, and he said they get retrained. After all, the bank has invested heavily in educating these people in the bank’s ways and culture, in giving these people real-world experience in front-, middle- and back- office banking and that they have a great deal of knowledge that the bank did not want to lose. That is why the bank focused heavily on retaining these people and their skills and experience.
Ha! So, you’ve retrained a branch teller to code in Python? I retorted skeptically. Funnily enough, we have, he pushed back.