The world is abuzz with how AI-driven chatbots are changing the landscape and would start eating into the already shrinking job market.

A non-entrepreneur, who is used to a 9-5 job, is worried and spending countless nights wondering how artificial intelligence (AI) will affect jobs in the future. Will AI replace human workers or will it augment their skills and capabilities? Will a banker, accountant, or financial analyst be replaced by a smart algorithm that can crunch numbers faster and better?

Employees across the world are worried about how will the nature and scope of financial services and products change. And what skills and competencies will one need to succeed in the AI era?

AI is already transforming the financial industry in many ways, from automating tasks and processes to enhancing customer service and experience to detecting fraud and anomalies to providing insights and recommendations. According to a report by PwC, AI could contribute up to $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030, with $6.6 trillion coming from increased productivity and $9.1 trillion from enhanced consumer demand.

The financial sector is expected to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of AI, with a potential value of $1.2 trillion by 2030. This poses some challenges and risks for the financial workforce.

According to a study by McKinsey, about half of the current work activities in the financial sector could be automated by 2030, affecting 1.3 million workers in the US alone.

The study also estimates that 60% of occupations could have at least 30% of their activities automated by AI and the workforce will need to adapt to new roles and tasks, or transition to different sectors or occupations. Based on the degree of complexity, creativity, and human interaction involved, the impact of AI on jobs will vary as most of the jobs would either be automated or augmented.

For example, jobs that involve routine, repetitive, or rule-based tasks, such as data entry, bookkeeping, or transaction processing, are more susceptible to automation by AI while activities such as financial planning, advisory, or management requiring higher levels of cognitive skills, emotional intelligence, or social interaction are more likely to be augmented by AI.

Let’s take a deep dive into how the scope of things would adapt over time to meet the challenges of the technological leap over the next few years.

Augmented decision-making & insights

AI algorithms will empower finance professionals to make data-driven decisions, optimise investment strategies, and enhance portfolio management as vast amounts of financial data, trends, and valuable insights can be analysed at a lightning speed.

These developments would allow the formation of AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants to deliver personalised customer experiences. These will enable the provision of personalised financial advice, answer customer inquiries, and streamline customer interactions.

This will ensure a 24/7 standardised level of customer service and deliver unprecedented satisfaction, which would not be possible through human-to-human interaction. While this frees up human employees for more complex tasks, it creates job risk for those workers skilled over time to deliver a high level of service.

Robotic process automation & risk management

The buzzword these days is to create algorithms to automate repetitive and rule-based tasks, such as data entry, transaction processing, and reconciliation.

Quantum computing would enable us to achieve unprecedented speeds in analysing large volumes of data to detect patterns and anomalies. This would enable firms to identify potential risks and take corrective actions in real time instead of post-facto basis.

This helps in strengthening risk management frameworks and ensuring regulatory compliance, ultimately reducing human error, improving the accuracy of decision-making processes, and operational efficiency, and reducing costs.

To be relevant to the changing job market, it is imperative that we incorporate a mindset of lifelong learning and invest in continuously upskilling and reskilling ourselves. Natural intelligence should be augmented via collaboration with AI and related fields as emotional intelligence, adaptive relationship management, critical thinking, and creative problem-solving become increasingly valuable.

To cope with the changes brought by AI, the set of new skills and competencies required and in high demand would include:

• Data literacy: The ability to understand, analyse, and communicate data effectively.

• Digital literacy: The ability to use digital tools and platforms efficiently and securely.

• Critical thinking: The ability to evaluate information objectively and logically.

• Creativity: The ability to generate novel and useful ideas and solutions.

• Problem-solving: The ability to identify and resolve issues effectively.

• Communication: The ability to express oneself clearly and persuasively.

• Collaboration: The ability to work well with others across diverse teams and contexts.

• Adaptability: The ability to learn new skills and adjust to changing situations.

Equipped with the above skills, the workforce would be armed to take on the financial world. The world awaits a new set of AI specialists, data scientists, analysts, and ethical experts who are well aware of the ethical and compliance implications and the dilemmas AI would pose.

AI journey in the world has started at an unparalleled speed and to remain employed in this arena, the workforce will need to embrace a growth mindset and a lifelong learning attitude.

The key to success would be to consider AI as a powerful ally, create a thought process tilted to learning and relearning and show flexibility and resilience as each new challenge would bring a set of unforetold opportunities.

The roadmap is very simple; it starts with keeping one updated on the latest trends and developments in the area of AI and finance and seeking opportunities to acquire new knowledge and skills.

As AI becomes more prevalent, the need for professionals who understand the ethical implications, privacy concerns, and regulatory requirements surrounding AI in finance will increase. New challenges and risks, such as bias, privacy, and security would crop up creating trust and isolation issues and conflicts in culture.

The writer is a student of Behavioral Finance, a visiting faculty at IBA, a treasury, wealth management & AI professional who is passionate about biotech, startups and business process reengineering



Published in The Express Tribune, July 17th, 2023.

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