Five robots outshone humans at Swiss bank and replaced seven employees

Estimated read time 5 min read
Five robots have replaced seven employees at a Swiss bank in order to speed up workflow, according to a new report.

The robots were able to do the same work as a human employee but could work 24/7 without a break, making them overall more effective. 
The pilot project at St. Galler Kantonalbank (SGKB) went so well the bank has decided to take on more robots at the end of this month.
Last year a report found that as many as 800 million workers could be replaced by machines in just 13 years.
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Five robots have replaced seven employees at a Swiss bank in order to speed up
workflow. The pilot project at St. Galler Kantonalbank (SGKB)
went so well the bank has decided to take on more robots at the end of this month
 (stock image)
The test was carried out last year when SGKB took over the private banking business of W.M Warburg Bank AG.
The two banks have different IT systems so the robots were used to transfer customer data from M.M Warburg to SGKB’s IT system.  
The robots transferred data from an Office Excel file.
‘This happened the same way as if it was done manually by an employee: the robot took the data from a field of the Excel file and transferred it to the corresponding field in the system of the bank’, Adrian Kunz General Secretariat of SGKB told MailOnline.
‘The robots did not replace existing jobs’, he said.
‘We’ve seen that’s technically feasible and now we’re exploring whether other applications are worthwhile, and I’m very optimistic about that’, Felix Buschor, member of the SGKB management board, said in an interview with Bloomberg.
‘The assessment of the potential is in full swing.’ 
Managers at the bank say the robots are causing some employees to worry about their jobs.  
‘However, as we have always compensated efficiency gains through natural fluctuation and because we paid close attention to enabling our employees to develop new technologies, the acceptance is high,’ said Mr Buschor. 
SGKB is not the only one examining the use of new technologies.
Managing director of Nuremberg-based IT consultant Roboyo GmbH said the question of automation is currently a ‘huge topic’ in financial services.
Managing director of Nuremberg-based IT consultant Roboyo GmbH
 said the question of automation is currently a ‘huge topic’ in financial services
 (stock image)
He said his company is working with banks, insurers and leasing companies who want to save time and money. 
A study by GFT Technologies SE in 2017 found that technologies and artificial intelligence could revolutionise the financial sector.
Researchers carried out a survey of 285 professionals from retail banks in eight countries.
They found 94 per cent of participants said artificial intelligence directly added value to their company.
A report from November last year found hundreds of millions of jobs in a variety of sectors are at risk.
Jobs most likely to be taken include fast-food workers and machine-operators, while gardeners, plumbers and childcare workers are the least likely to be replaced by bots, according to the report.
The report, called ‘Jobs lost, jobs gained: Workforce transitions in a time of automation’, was created by management consultancy firm, McKinsey.
It assesses the number and type of jobs that could be lost to automation over the next 13 years.
The report said: ‘The results reveal a rich mosaic of potential shifts in occupations in the years ahead, with important implications for workforce skills and wages.
‘Our key finding is that while there may be enough work to maintain full employment to 2030 under most scenarios, the transitions will be very challenging – matching or even exceeding the scale of shifts out of agriculture and manufacturing we have seen in the past.’
The report suggests that in about 60 per cent of jobs, at least one third of activities could be automated.
It said: ‘We estimate that between 400 million and 800 million individuals could be displaced by automation and need to find new jobs by 2030 around the world.’
And while the report suggests that new jobs will be available, it highlights that people may need to learn new skills to get them.
Leading agricultural minds are working on developing robots to increase the efficiency of plant harvesting. 
Harper Adams University in Shropshire are developing a robot that don’t harvest crops until they are perfect, eradicating wonky and inedible vegetable.
Farmers currently harvest fields all at once, in a practice known as slaughter harvesting. 
But this method leads to up to 60 per cent of the crop being wasted, because it is either wonky or inedible. 
Engineers are working on machines that can autonomously plant seeds, weed, water and spray without a farmer.
The robots can also be programmed to only pick crops where they are perfectly ripe.
Developer of the autonomous veg pickers, Professor Simon Blackmore, said: ‘I am trying to develop a completely new agricultural mechanisation system based on small smart machines.
‘We are developing laser weeding, droplet application where only 100 per cent of the chemical goes onto the target leaf, selective harvesting where we can grade the product at the point of harvest.’
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