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Yes, AI is coming for your job. Here’s why you shouldn’t worry.

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Yes, AI might be coming for your banking job, but it will likely open as many doors as it closes, writes Anna Becker, of Endotech.

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There’s good news and bad news regarding artificial intelligence for finance professionals. The bad news is that AI is indeed coming for your job — but the good news is that AI will also give you many more opportunities than you have now. In similar previous tech revolutions, initial fears over job losses indeed came to pass — but ultimately those new technologies generated new jobs, based on new needs that the technology itself inspired. It’s happened too many times to count — from the printing press to the computer revolution — and there’s no reason to think that AI will be any different.

There’s a pervasive fear among many — including top-level executives in the financial sector — that AI will sooner or later — more likely sooner — send them to the unemployment line. As advanced generative AI — the kind of AI that can duplicate human thought patterns — gets better, more of it will be used to replace high-cost humans in roles such as investment advisor, account manager, trader, bank executive and more. 

And chances are that AI will do at least as good, if not a better job than many of those it is replacing, and for a lot less money. Investment advisors are, after all, human and prone to the mistakes, misunderstandings and missteps that all humans are, regardless of their level of experience and expertise. Those mistakes can cost institutions and advisors a lot of money. AI-driven investment systems don’t get tired, and take into account all data needed to provide the best advice possible.

In addition, AI-powered advisory services could reduce the cost of individualized planning — currently offered by many institutions only to the most well-heeled — opening up opportunities for that kind of advice to more people. The same is likely for many other financial roles; as generative AI improves, it will be able to make decisions on its own. The role for humans will likely become more supervisory, reviewing decisions made by the machines to ensure that they make sense — but the number of supervisors needed will, obviously, be far less than the number of employees that will be replaced. 

But while AI gobbles up the lower-level jobs that currently exist, it will likely create many more jobs — just like other, previous technological revolutions that replaced menial and repetitive jobs with positions that required higher levels of financial, technical and empathetic skills. A telling parallel from the past is that while the “horseless carriage” eliminated thousands of jobs — manufacturers of wooden carts used by horses, stable workers, sanitation workers responsible for cleaning up horse manure — it created tens of thousands of new jobs, from car repair staff to fuel station managers and employees to traffic managers to manufacturers of road signs, and many more. Those jobs paid significantly more than the salaries stable hands and sanitation workers received. And those new jobs weren’t created far off in the future; there was an immediate need for workers in those new roles.

What opportunities, then, will be available for finance industry professionals whose jobs are replaced by AI? Experts say that new roles for financial executives could include “debiasers” — helping individuals choose between investment plans presented by AI systems based on their needs, life situation and other factors; LLM developers, who work with AI chat systems to utilize the most relevant training data; AI ethicists, who will ensure that AI results comply with legal and ethical requirements; and content creators, who will help clients pose their queries in the most efficient and usable manner.

But those are just the jobs that experts can foresee, based on current social and economic conditions. Many of the new resulting jobs, industries and businesses were unforeseen when technologies came on-line, and the needs only became obvious when the technology spread. For example, the invention of the printing press may have put scribes out of business, but the mass printing of books gave rise to the invention of the bookstore — an institution that would have been unthinkable in the pre-printing press era, when the availability of texts was extremely limited. This is the case today. If AI, for example, makes individualized financial advice available to everyone, investment institutions will need support personnel to work with all these new customers, helping them to decide on the best investment strategy for their needs. 

Anecdotal evidence from across the finance industry confirms this trend. I have seen that for years AI professionals mainly worked one-on-one with investment firms to design an AI-based strategy based on a single financial or social factor, with the system analyzing data relating to that factor. But with time, more robust AI-driven platforms that take into account all these factors have emerged, allowing financial firms to work efficiently with higher numbers of clients. 

That has meant growth in mid-level and senior staff at financial AI companies, as well as for those investment firms who use such tools. As the investment firms are able to handle many more clients with diverse needs, they need to hire more consultants and managers to help clients navigate AI systems. Those AI systems will faithfully and efficiently continue to carry out the roles of the lower level workers they replaced — but many of those workers have moved on to more sophisticated (and probably higher paying) jobs, with many using AI to quickly and automatically do what they used to do in their previous roles, while adding to the value of those activities in their new, AI-driven roles. 

The future, then, is far from bleak. Financial professionals of tomorrow — and that tomorrow will be here far faster than most of us anticipate — will work with sophisticated and advanced AI tools in new roles, the needs for which will very quickly make themselves known. Those roles will require workers to utilize higher skill sets — better understanding of the market, more creativity, greater empathy with clients, without the repetitiveness, tediousness and manual labor in many of the roles currently available in the industry. Financial industry workers don’t need to be concerned about losing their jobs to AI — they need to be concerned over which of the many opportunities they will want to seek out when the time comes.

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