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Robotics in banking: more Iron Man than Terminator

By Adam Gable 1 Sep 2017

Talk of robotics ending the world of work as we know can be misleading and disingenuous. Rather than replacing our jobs, robotics and AI has the ability to enrich them, freeing up time to concentrate on what we do best – innovation and creativity – writes Adam Gable

Artificial Intelligence and robotics are the hot technology topics of the year. In the first three weeks of August, for example, the Financial Times published at least 19 articles – covering banking, chatbots, tractors, manufacturing, weapons, financial services, fund management, politics and vacuum cleaners. Other publishers were even more prolific.

Some stories play down the achievements to date. Others raise dystopian visions of robots without moral judgment, programmed to kill, while an idle race of humans withers away without work. Few discuss the benefits of AI and robotics in a rational and informed way. This is a shame because the reality is that robotics – long used to automate expensive, boring and time-consuming tasks – can continue to enhance life, not detract from it. Advances in technology are now freeing up resources for innovation and creativity, and enabling humans to do their jobs better.

Scaremongering – with talk of mass redundancies – maybe wide of the mark, there will always be roles for humans. We're a long way off having robots that can match us on judgment calls, collaboration, intuition and communication as well as of course designing and developing our automated counterparts. According to AI expert Margaret Boden, of Sussex University, the smartest computer would take 40 minutes to simulate one second of 1 percent of real brain activity.

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