Banking revolution may be bad news for employees

Office workers crossing the road at the junction of Anson Road and Bernam Street.
Office workers crossing the road at the junction of Anson Road and Bernam Street.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

In his opinion piece (Singapore's coming banking revolution, July 3), Straits Times associate editor Vikram Khanna says "wherever there is more competition, the biggest beneficiaries are us, the consumers".

On the contrary, I believe we are creating a disastrous situation where only machines have "jobs".

As the population increases, the demand for jobs will increase. But the growing use of technology and machines is making human beings redundant, and less-skilled workers will be affected the most.

For instance, a supermarket chain recently replaced manned payment counters with checkout machines that accept card and cash payments. Its branch in Yishun now has fewer manned counters.

Several people may have lost their job as cashiers, thereby reducing their spending power.

Meanwhile, jobs are probably being created in countries where these new check-out machines are being made.

As the population increases, the demand for jobs will increase. But the growing use of technology and machines is making human beings redundant, and less-skilled workers will be affected the most.

In the next five years, what we may see worldwide are retail banks shrinking in size and letting go of staff. The knock-on effects? A fall in demand for commercial space and lower footfall in shopping malls. At the same time, credit card use will disappear with new payment modes emerging.

The above scenario is scary. Stop replacing human workers with machines.

Sarvjeet Sharma

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 06, 2019, with the headline 'Banking revolution may be bad news for employees'. Print Edition | Subscribe