A.I., robotics a threat to bank employees

Luis Almeida
Posted 10/9/17

According to Vikram  Pandit, 30 percent of bank jobs may disappear in the next five years. Who is Pandit? Well, he was Citigroup’s CEO at the height of the Great Recession …

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A.I., robotics a threat to bank employees


According to Vikram  Pandit, 30 percent of bank jobs may disappear in the next five years. Who is Pandit? 

Well, he was Citigroup’s CEO at the height of the Great Recession between the years 2012-17. 

He is claiming that artificial intelligence and robotics are going to be the technologies that may slash back office bank jobs. I think he is right on, by the way. 

Think about it. Why would any company extend you a job offer if they can produce a technology that makes your job obsolete?  

Citizens of Cleveland, I’ve said this once and will say it again: Modern technologies are stealing your jobs!

Before we make the decision to adopt these things, we need to think about its systemic consequences. Here is how I make my decisions about upcoming technologies, being cognizant of our community as a whole versus just me as an individual. 

If the technology will make our lives better overall, then we should use it, support it and even defend it. If technology won’t make our lives better, we should stop using it, boycott it and be vocal against it. 

Listen carefully. Artificial intelligence is likely to take your jobs away. Machine-learning and cloud-computing will automate back-office banking job functions and will impact their overall operation. If you work for a bank in town, consider this when celebrating all these advancements in artificial intelligence. You may be the next in line to lose your job.   

Commercial banks are going to adopt advanced technology in order to reduce costs, at your expense. Researchers are estimating almost 800,000 U.S. bank jobs will be cut because of these upcoming AI technologies.

In Europe, the number is higher. I wonder how many jobs AI will cut in emerging markets like India and Brazil? How can this be good news for anybody, by the way? The robots are coming to replace you! But many, including thousands who work in the bank industry, worship all these advancements in technology. Do you see the irony?

Pandit is not alone with his predictions. Axel Lehmann, UBS’s COO, seems to agree with him, claiming that artificial intelligence will literally change the banking industry’s operations. 

In an earlier column for the Cleveland Daily Banner, I described how the new production equation attempts to eliminate its labor portion in an attempt to make production equal capital rather than production equaling labor plus capital. Perhaps, the former might be the way banks try to keep afloat because of all this infusion of technology in their living systems.

No matter which industry you are in — most enterprises I know operate under a well-thought-out business model — a clever business strategist should maximize the uses of technology (AI, robotics, for example) in order to maximize profit. I get it. In the end, it is about money or, shall we say, making a lot of it. 

I am convinced of one thing. Introducing a new business model maximizing AI and robotics will reduce labor and employment in the new age of information. 

I predict that the new banking model using artificial intelligence and robotics will end up imploding, in the long run. Banks are going to end up shooting themselves in the foot by believing that labor is irrelevant to their operation. 

The question is whether we should invest in people or in technology. Having served in the capacity of interim department chair in two public institutions before joining the faculty at Lee University, where I had to make some of these decisions, I have always opted to keep good people.

I don't really think that artificial intelligence or a robot can do the work of an experienced banker. Do you really want to call a 1-800 number to get support about that deposit you did on Friday that didn’t go through?

I don’t think you do. Do you?  


(About the writer: Dr. Luis C. Almeida is an associate professor of communication at Lee University and TEDx speaker. He is the author of the book, “Becoming a Brand: The Rise of Technomoderation,” and a devoted Christian. He can be reached via his website at


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