CEOs Beware: a Robot could Take your Job

gettyimages-488789479-compressorPerhaps not, according to Pavel Cherkashin, the Russian founder of tech companies including Sputnik Labs and AdWatch and a former senior executive at IBM and Adobe.

Cherkashin believes it’s only a matter of time before the following scenario plays out: a large financial company has just performed an initial public offering on the Nasdaq, but, as the only human left on staff, the company lawyer has to ring the bell.

According to Cherkashin, the robot CEO will be fully aware of its own personality and responsibilities as a manager, while possessing an enhanced capability to develop long-term strategies and analyze risks.

“Free from human-like desires and emotions, the mission of these machines will be to take business management to a whole new level.”

“Free from human-like desires and emotions, the mission of these machines will be to take business management to a whole new level,” Cherkashin wrote in a piece published by TechCrunch.

“And with all the intelligence they need, minus the anger, lust, and greed of humans, machines will probably be in a better position to make those multibillion-dollar deals within seconds.”

Artificial intelligence technology isn’t advanced enough for robot CEOs to become reality soon andCherkashin hasn’t said when he expects the c-suite to be occupied by droids. But no matter how far-fetched his ideas, it’s a fact that artificial intelligence is gradually taking on some management functions previously left to humans.

CEOs now have scenario-building software at their disposal that allows them to compare various strategies and outcomes with different market conditions and return-rate scenarios.

And robots are already helping to administer millions of dollars of investments on behalf of the wealth management industry. Swiss investment bank UBS, for example, this month launched its own “roboadviser” product, which substitutes a traditional wealth adviser with an algorithm.

And it’s financial services corporations and investment funds that are the most likely to hire a robot CEO first, given the difference between making a right and wrong decision could be hundreds of millions of dollars, Cherkashin said.

His ideas pose a very profound question, though. If even the CEO’s job isn’t safe, how will the human race sustain itself?

The good news, at least according to Cherkashin, is that displaced workers will be happy because severance will be paid with high-yielding shares.

He’s not the only one to suggest unemployment caused by robots could be addressed by increasing employee corporate ownership, as this recent study by UniCredit pointed out.

“While competition and workload won’t disappear, people will simply shift from surviving to enjoying creative fulfillment,” Cherkashin said.

Ross Kelly
Ross Kelly is a London-based business journalist. He has been a staff correspondent or editor at The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo Finance and the Australian Associated Press.

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