Automation and software technology has advanced leaps and bounds since the late 1990’s. This is most evident in the widespread use of software in the workplace and automation in the manufacturing process. However, professional service providers including law firms, accounting firms, banks and health care providers have been slow to innovate. In the past several years however, there has been a greater push for the use of advanced technology such as artificial intelligence (machine learning in particular) to assist with tasks normally handled by a professional service provider.
Automation through the use of AI is slowing becoming widespread in the accounting field. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is now being used to complete repeated high volume tasks, allowing accountants more time for analysis and interpretation. AI is also being used as a tool for automatic auditing. A user can set items that need to be flagged, and the system will review large amounts of financial records and highlight areas of concern. As AI becomes more accurate and accountants become more accustomed to their use, we can expect greater use of AI and machine learning in the near future.
In the finance industry, AI technology is gradually being introduced to create predictive modelling which can, for example, automatically measure profitability and risk. As the technology advances, AI will be used to create more complex models, with less requirement for user feedback and greater accuracy.
The potential for the use of AI in medicine is immense. From early detection of diseases to managing patient data, AI can be implemented in a versatile manner, for use by different treatment providers or administrators. Currently, AI is being used to great effect in the field of diagnostic radiology, where AI is particularly suited for recognizing visual patterns. More hospitals are now using AI to aid in the interpretation of MRI and CAT scans, to detect tumors that could be missed by humans. For example, AI can be used to review mammography scans, reducing false positives which would otherwise require unnecessary biopsies. Algorithms can also be used to detect potentially fatal abdominal aneurisms, with enough accuracy for use in clinical practice. AI will only get smarter, faster and more accurate in the coming years. While not a replacement for radiologists who are trained medical doctors, AI will simply be a tool for more efficient analysis.
Automation in the legal field is long overdue. AI and machine learning can readily assist with high volume tasks, such as transactional due diligence, in a more accurate and efficient manner. A culture shift is coming, where law firms will need to innovate to offer greater value to clients and manage costs. As more clients become accustomed to the use of AI in transactions, there will be greater pressure on law firms to provide these services to their corporate clients.