Japanese insurer turns to AI

Japanese insurance firm, Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance is set to make 34 employees redundant and replace them with IBM’s Watson Explorer artificial intelligence.

Reports claim the insurer believes it will increase productivity by 30% and see a return on its investment in less than two years. The firm said it would save about £1m a year after the £1.4m AI system is installed this month. Maintaining it will cost about £100k a year.

The system is based on IBM’s Watson Explorer, which, according to the tech firm, possesses ‘cognitive technology that can think like a human’, enabling it to ‘analyse and interpret all of your data, including unstructured text, images, audio and video’.

According to a 2015 report by the Nomura Research Institute, nearly half of all jobs in Japan could be performed by robots by 2035.