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Imperial College Business School

How artificial intelligence will affect bankers, lawyers and accountants


Dr Julio Amador explains how he and his colleagues at Imperial College Business School have developed a roadmap of how businesses can deploy AI successfully


Building on research we have conducted at Imperial Business Analytics, my colleagues and I have assembled a roadmap for companies dealing with the introduction of AI to their sectors. Specifically, we’ve focused on the challenges faced by bankers, lawyers and accountants. We’ve looked at the technology that exists already, and ahead to what is on the near horizon. By looking at a range of scenarios, we’ve tried to create a blueprint of how companies can deploy AI successfully. Without such a clear map, any predictions are just educated guesses.


Unsurprisingly, not all companies are keen to embrace these changes. In the legal sector, where access to professional expertise is charged by the hour, AI and the efficiencies it promises don’t sit naturally in the business model. But at the same time, there are a host of start-ups that can process legal documentation faster and cheaper – will this spell the end of the paralegal career? Business models will affect how and when AI is adopted: law firms might come late to the party, but commercial banking is already adopting it with gusto.


Our roadmap looks at three main areas. First, how is the science helping? Does the technology exist at a sufficient level to offer a solution?


Second, are these solutions already viable? Are they ready to function in a real life setting?


Third, how willing is a company or sector to adopt this technology? Will some be adopted more successfully than others?


There’s no single and exact answer as to when AI, robotics and machine learning will become an everyday part of working life, but broadly we’re looking at a range of 20 to 50 years. Some sectors will move faster than others: larger firms are usually more sluggish because changing values within such complex hierarchies takes time. Smaller companies will, by their nature, be willing and able to change more quickly.


The overriding problem companies report is a dearth of experience in this field. Universities are providing students with the right tools but there’s a huge gap that education can’t fill. Graduates don’t yet have the ability to put the technology in context. People who can adapt and learn as they go will be prized: this technology is changing every day, so keeping up to date will be essential.


The full version of this article can be found on IB Knowledge.