Half of all jobs to be replaced by robots 'in the near future': PwC

2017-03-16 The China Post / Christine Chou

More than half of existing jobs can be replaced by robots or artificial intelligence (AI) within the foreseeable future, said PwC Taiwan as the "big four" accounting firm released its latest CEO report on Wednesday. 

"Developments in automation, robotics and blockchain technology have not only offered affordable and dependable ways to perform daily operations, but it has also improved efficiency and productivity. It allows employees to focus their energies on higher-value activities," read the report.

Approximately 61 percent of CEOs in the insurance sector hasve started to explore advantages of man and machine co-working, while 49 percent said they have been considering how AI may have the skills required to thrive in the future of business.

PwC surveyed nearly 500 corporate leaders in the finance sector between September and December last year.

The report found nearly 20 percent of CEOs in the financial services sector believed that technology had completely overhauled the model for the sector, while more than 74 percent of CEOs working in banking and capital markets thought technology had either reshaped or significantly changed their industry.

Maria Chen (陳賢儀), head of insurance sector services at PwC Taiwan, said "InsurTech," a recent industry buzzword describing the once conservative, paper-and-pen industry's movement towards innovation and technological advancement, is "not so much a threat as it is a way for insurance firms to boost their influence."

Chen said cooperating with InsurTech companies could help insurance firms improve their procedures and efficiency, which in turn should lead to lower costs. Meanwhile, insurance companies are continuing to step up their big data analysis capabilities in order to get a clearer understanding of their clients.

Additionally, more than 75 percent of CEOs in the financial services sector said they see a lack of technological know-how as a threat to industry growth.

Richard Watanabe (吳偉臺), PwC's head of operations for financial services, stressed the importance of recruiting new people with diverse backgrounds and skills, in order for businesses to close the technological gap.