Weekly Ledger 39: Top Stories in Accounting and Finance
Here's what's trending this week
Wired reporter @CadeMetz explores how deep learning bots are picking up on a language of their own through scenarios of “extreme trial and error." Igor Mordatch, visiting researcher and roboticist, is helping OpenAI labs teach robots to speak their own language through methods of reinforcement learning. Metz offers the goal: “Ultimately, Mordatch says, these methods can give machines a deeper grasp of language, actually show them why language exists—and that provides a springboard to real conversation, a computer interface that computer scientists have long dreamed of but never actually pulled off."
Mike Galarza (@_MikeGalarza) for Forbes warns accountants, “Don't become a casualty of modernity." He means accountants should be seeking every opportunity to influence overall business strategy and entrench themselves in the analytical side of the profession as “advisors"— tasks still too complex and high-level for artificial intelligence. Galarza says: “The time to prepare is now. More robust automation tools and first generation AI are on the horizon. Accountants should be ready to seize new opportunities presented by these technologies as they become available. That means finding a niche and really honing those interpersonal skills."
Oscar Williams-Grut (@OscarWGrut) shares how the tide is rising for partnerships among incumbent financial services companies as they look to fintech to provide layers to their services that customers desire. From PricewaterhouseCoopers' Global Fintech report, surveying over 1,300 financial services executives: “82% of incumbents [...] plan to increase collaboration with fintech companies over the next three to five years."
Robots are coming to the accounting industry — here's how to prepare—Business Insider
Imagine a world in which accountants navigate complex compliance information at the drop of a hat and make strategic business decisions with readily-available information. According to Business Insider, this is what's to come for accountants that embrace the new automation revolution. Instead of fearing a new technology layer, BI suggests, "Computers have enormous potential to empower—rather than displace—accountants."
Automation and Anxiety—The Economist
While the tagline, “Will smarter machines cause mass unemployment?" may sound a bit alarmist, there are ways that the coming automation revolution will benefit us all, as explored by The Economist. “A computer that dispenses expert radiology advice is just one example of how jobs currently done by highly trained white-collar workers can be automated, thanks to the advance of deep learning and other forms of artificial intelligence." The Economist emphasizes that it isn't just manual or white-collar work that's in jeopardy, but whether or not the work is performed as “routine."