Manufacturing is often the first industry people think of when they consider where jobs could be lost as artificial intelligence systems grow in reach, though those concerns have yet to be borne out by reality. However, some folks may want to reconsider how deep an impact A.I. could have on jobs outside the manufacturing sector, based on a recent announcement from Japan-based insurance firm Fukoku Life.

According to Fukoku, implementing IBM's (NYSE: IBM) Watson Explorer solution will allow it to reduce "the burden of business process by about 30%." As per one report, Fukoku has already started reducing staff as the Watson A.I. solution is put through its final installation steps. In total, as many as 34 jobs in the insurer's processing division will become redundant. The Watson Explorer system is expected to be ready for action this month.

IBM's Watson A.I. solution will be utilized to read documents and categorize diseases, as well as interpret video, images -- including X-Rays -- and audio files. Fukoku will reportedly spend $1.7 million to install Watson, and about $128,000 a year for service support. While that may sound pretty steep, the annual cost savings are expected to reach nearly $1.2 million just from the job cuts, and the system will still increase efficiencies.

Of course, a loss of 34 jobs is no reason to panic that Watson and its A.I. ilk are about to take over the workforce. But it does demonstrate how widespread A.I.'s reach could be, both in the realms of blue and white collars.


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Tim Brugger has no position in any stocks mentioned.

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