Machine learning and AI will one day be applied in almost all industries and departments. As far as business benefits are concerned, there is more to machine learning than just saving money: It enables the CFO to make predictions about markets, customer behavior and payment defaults; it significantly improves a company’s accounting processes and enables a fully digitized process – from book entry to annual report. Machine learning can also help address some of the most pressing issues in forecasting and scenario modeling.
Yet few other technologies are triggering such heated debates because there are fears and uncertainties regarding machine learning. What effects does machine learning have on the finance function? How can we guarantee data protection and maintain human control over machine decision-making processes? Will machines soon match or even surpass human intelligence?
I think that people will continue to play the most important role in the financial sector, but that role will change. The aim should be that man and machine complement each other at the workplace with machines to support human work.
All about increasing potential
The future of work is influenced by the extent to which machine learning affects the various facets of a company. It is understood that machine learning opens up potential for job automation in many areas. However, the experts do not agree on which jobs will be affected by automation and how great these effects will be. Is it “only” the activities in the Global Business Service Centers – or also the central functions of management in Treasury and Group Controlling?
Machine learning also creates jobs – not least because we need specialists to develop machine learning systems and adapt them to the core processes in finance. Not to mention the fact that human originality, creativity and innovation are in higher demand than ever, which means that we will create completely new jobs – based on new intelligent applications. It’s hard to predict what the exact effects will be, but AI will probably be more evolutionary than revolutionary. We have the reins in our hands and we can actively help shape what is automated and to what extent. Ultimately, our goal is to increase human potential through technology, not to hinder it.
AI is still far from being as multi-faceted as man – and may never reach this level. The future of work is primarily determined by the interaction between man and machine. It is therefore crucial that people use AI to complement and improve their own skills rather than trying to compete with it.