Celent’s latest report on artificial intelligence, machine learning, and cognitive computing (pick your favorite term), is a reminder that fantasy-land is more than just dreams
and imagination. When I spoke to co-author Mike Fitzgerald about the report last
month, I came clean: I have a hard enough time understanding the technology we are
using today, much less what we need to prepare for tomorrow.
One thing that was easy for me to understand about “Machine Intelligence in
Insurance,” which Fitzgerald wrote with fellow Celent consultant Craig Beattie, is such
tools are closer to reality than we might think.
Granted, Fitzgerald has more than a passing interest in the subject, but he predicted
that within five years there will be as much discussion about machine intelligence in
insurance as there is today about cloud computing.
That statement alone should make us stand up and take notice. IBM first piqued
interest with its release of Watson and the promotion the company pushed to have the
machine take on (and defeat) the two most successful champions in the history of the
TV quiz show Jeopardy.
That took place over four years ago, though, which seems more like the 20th
century in terms of technology breakthroughs. Watson isn’t alone in the market today,
although Fitzgerald believes IBM continues to do most of the heavy lifting in the promotion of artificial intelligence.
Fitzgerald understands why it is easy for insurers to block out AI from their less
than artificial minds: the debate currently is meaningless to most business executives
and any plans to use machine intelligence will likely show up first in industries other
than insurance, which shouldn’t shock anyone.
Thankfully, some insurers are sick of the “slow adopter” moniker and realize that
while artificial intelligence might not be in the insurance mainstream for a while, it will
impact IT professionals who do choose to work in insurance.
It is hard to escape the doom and gloom that comes when people scream as loud
as they can that computers are taking over the world. There is no doubt that machine
learning will bring great changes to the world, just as a half-dozen or more innovations have done over the last decade, but wise people look at threats as opportunities
and that’s what insurers need to focus on. As Michael Corleone once said, “Keep your
friends close and your enemies closer.” ITA
Robert Regis Hyle
Machine Learning and
Insurance: Don’t Run and Hide
THE MAGAZINE FOR INSURANCE IT & BUSINESS PROFESSIONALS
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ITA Advisory Board
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Lincoln Financial Group
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Patriot National Inc.
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September2015 // Issue 6 // Vol. 2