7 Things you should know about artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is no longer a foreign concept. In the future robots and computers may really out-think, out-smart and out-pace us. But we’re no longer talking about the future like it would impact us in a few generations time. No, AI is no longer something dedicated to the science fiction section of a library. It is now science ‘fact’.

And if you don’t embrace it and make it part of your future planning for your business you will get well and truly left behind. Here we have a quick look at some important facts and developments that have been made or relayed lately, which will have an impact on the insurance industry or should make you sit up and pay attention:

  1. Computers will replace you sooner than you think: At the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation held in New York this month Margaret Reagan CEO of The FutureWork Institute said that by 2050 a computer will have the capacity of all human brains. While you may think we still have some way to go (32 years) according to Regan, similar technology is already in place.
  2. It could have an impact on health and home insurance products and the care industry: According to a post on MIT News X-ray vision could soon become a reality if a team led by Professor Dina Katabi from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory get their way. Yes, AI could help you look through walls and this ability they say could help monitor diseases like Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy. With technology like this carers may not be necessary as it could provide added security and monitoring for the elderly. If brought to the market cheaply it could provide added security in homes and dissuade break-ins.
  3. There may be less need for travel insurance: World Cup fever is on and thousands of fans are set to descend on Russia to watch their favourite teams perform or crash out of the competition. You can always stay at home and watch it on television but nothing quite yet beats watching a game live. However, this may soon change. According to org an artificial intelligence algorithm being developed by researchers will make it possible to watch your favourite team play on your kitchen table as a 3D ‘hologram’. With an experience like this – why would you venture far from home – particularly if you are cash strapped?
  4. It could help create more jobs and increase customer base: We hear a lot about how machines will replace people and we’ll all be out of jobs twiddling our thumbs. While AI could replace some jobs, some argue that it could in fact create more opportunities, widen the customer base and access. According to Indian politician Devendra Fadnavis it will create more jobs and bridge the gap between rich and poor. AI, he feels, will enable the poor to access basic services. Imagine having access to a greater pool of customers. Perhaps this may not only lead to an increase in local business but boost cross border business for the UK’s insurance sector too.
  5. It may be easier to hire the right employee (or to lose one): AI is also going to transform the recruitment process. Recruitment platform, Monster, is preparing for technological change in this sector. Job seekers will be able to apply for positions with a swipe of a finger and use the company’s AI resume assessment tools to understand where their CVs fall short. Algorithms can also be used to sift through lots of resumes and hunt down certain key words that correspond to the job description. Taking hours, days and weeks to find the right employee may be a thing of the past, which is great for any industry including the insurance sector.
  6. It could reduce drunk driving: Reports say that Uber is toying with technology that can help drivers spot if a passenger has had one too many drinks. The tool will apparently use algorithms to gather data on walking speeds, precision on ordering the Uber cab and how long the customer takes in placing that order. Is it really a stretch to believe that carmakers will jump onto this technology and create a locking mechanism in cars preventing drunk people from accessing the driver’s seat? Such technology would surely impact car insurance premiums making the product cheaper more easy to sell for brokers.
  7. It could help reduce fraud: According to a report on scienenews.org, AI can now help you tune out background noise in videos and hone in on a conversation at a party. Perhaps your client has made a false insurance claim and you suspect they may have told someone about it? No problem, AI could soon help with that. But this is where it could get a bit sinister and used for other gains. Plus, privacy laws could come into play here and prevent companies from spying on their customers. Nevertheless, the technology could be there to use for good as well as bad purposes.