The AI that Isn't Taking Your Job

One of the biggest fears with the coming world of artificial intelligence and automation is the loss of jobs. It's a logical fear, as automation often brings with it visions of humans becoming part of the machine itself, or worse: those machines taking over for humans. 

But over history such fears have proven unfounded. Each technological advancement accompanies dire warnings of massive job losses, but in reality these shifts just result in a change in the workforce and an adjustment in skills. People, and the workforce, adapt to the new reality. Where we once had scriveners copying down texts, we then had typists creating cleaner versions, then photocopiers giving us exact replicas, then printers providing multiple copies of any document, and now we share electronically. We here at Attivio have yet to meet an unemployed scrivener or typist. 

At the federal level, AI has helped to reduce the tediousness of some jobs, freeing people up to work on other tasks. Take this example from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which uses AI tools to compile data on workplace injuries. This work had been done by hand, sorting each incoming by occupation and industry. With millions of data points, each classified by hand, it was an arduous and tedious task that took quite a bit of time.  As Jory Heckman reports in Federal News Radio: 

In one year alone, BLS saw more than 2,000 different job titles for a position that could generally be described as a janitor or cleaner. While making sense of all those titles would be a tedious task for a BLS employee, AI has reduced that burden on the bureau's workers.

"Traditionally, we would have staff that would review that data by hand, and would determine that they belonged in Occupation Code X, which is the janitor and cleaner. That's something that we can now use machine learning to improve the consistency," said William Wiatrowski, the acting BLS commissioner.

Like those more progressive federal agencies, our customers tend to use artificial intelligence as a tool to free up employees from some of the more laborious tasks and make their own work more efficient. An example is in the world of anti-money laundering (AML) in which search programs built by Attivio speed up the manual drudgery involved in investigations. 

Each time a bank sees suspected activity an investigator needs to dig into the material and determine what kind of activity is taking place. Each case requires a series of steps including data gathering, analyzing and then reporting those findings in a narrative format. The true value of an AML investigator lies in their ability to analyze the information, but the work on either side - gathering and reporting - becomes the largest burden on their time. This leads to huge activity backlogs.

By automating the gathering and reporting, AML investigators can do what they're meant to do: investigate. Even better, they do more of it. One investment bank saw their investigators go from spending an hour on each case to spending just 12 minutes. This allowed them to take on more cases and eliminate the backlog. 

And not one scrivener lost their job. 

Learn more about how Attivio's AI-based cognitive search and insights platform helps improve productivity, in financial services and other large, complex enterprises - contact us for a demo. 

 

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