Business and technologies

Last week, I received an email from a student: “I am currently studying in the Master of Business Administration (MBA) program, specialize in Banking and Finance. I read your blog about Artificial Intelligence and have a few questions: “Is it possible for AI software to replace all human jobs in banking and finance? What is the future of someone who has an MBA degree? What is your advice for someone like me? Please help.”

I wrote to him: “Artificial intelligence often create fear in workers who believe that they will be replaced by robots. The reality is some jobs will be lost but others will be created regardless of what areas or what jobs that people are working in. In banking and finance areas, artificial intelligence will take over some jobs but new jobs will also be created. What you need is knowing what skills you need to have to meet these new jobs requirements.

In the past few years, artificial intelligence (AI) technology was used in the merger of several banks in the U.S. When a bigger bank acquire a smaller bank, there is high cost in the conversion process such as all customer and account information such as credit cards, internet banking, and transaction management, has to be migrated to the bigger bank’s information system. In the past, it was done by people and it took time, often in many months. With artificial intelligence software, this process can be done in a matter of a few days. Most of the manual processes can easily be automated using “smart software.” Therefore, most banking jobs such as data entry and filling out forms will be replaced by AI technology just like thirty years ago, the Automated Teller Machine (ATM) was used to replaced bank tellers.

According to a business report, by using AI technology, the banks and finance industry could gain 40% in productivity and $1 trillion in additional profit due to fewer costs and faster transactions. Beyond that, the AI software can also detect money-laundering, fraudulent loans earlier and inform management if some unusual suspicious activities are happening. Based on these advantages, many banks and finance companies will use more AI software in the future.

Is it possible for AI software to replace ALL human jobs in banking and finance? The answer is “NO” but as some jobs will be gone, new jobs will be created and most of them will be in technology areas. Soon most bank and finance companies will need to hire more college graduates with both business and computer skills. As a business student, my advice for you is to take additional computer classes as there is a need for workers with combined skills to work as financial data scientists who can design or manage this AI software to meet the bank’s business operation. For example, if a person makes a mistake, the bank can fire them, but if the AI software is making mistakes, the bank will have a huge problem because they cannot fire the AI software. So they need someone who can monitor the software to make sure it works correctly. There will be a high demand for people who know the banking business, how it works, and also have the computer skills to design and implement the AI software.

Even the banking and finance world is changing fast and getting more automated but there is still a role of a human being. Because the AI technology is still new and most banks are just implementing the use of AI in areas like trading, lending, and customer service; they will need a lot of people who have the MBA degree and have additional computing skills.

Last year, I have involved in a national review of college programs to ensure they place more focus on technology in several fields of study to make sure that future graduates will have the needed skills to prepare them for the Fourth industrial revolution. I have made several recommendations for degree programs such as business, social studies, arts and humanities to add additional courses in computer science as well as “soft skills” such as critical thinking, active listening, presentation, leadership, and social perceptiveness. I believe these skills will help position all future graduates to complement AI technologies, rather than compete with them.


  • Blogs of Prof. John Vu, Carnegie Mellon University

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