Very risky business: the pros and cons of insurance companies embracing artificial intelligence


The enabling technology for insurers to use AI is the ‘ecosystem’ of sensors known as the internet of things.

It’s a new day not very far in the future. You wake up; your wristwatch has recorded how long you’ve slept, and monitored your heartbeat and breathing. You drive to work; car sensors track your speed and braking. You pick up some breakfast on your way, paying electronically; the transaction and the calorie content of your meal are recorded.

Then you have a car accident. You phone your insurance company. Your call is answered immediately. The voice on the other end knows your name and amiably chats to you about your pet cat and how your favourite football team did on the weekend.

You’re talking to a chat-bot. The reason it “knows” so much about you is because the insurance company is using artificial intelligence to scrape information about you from social media. It knows a lot more besides, because you’ve agreed to let it monitor your personal devices in exchange for cheaper insurance premiums.

This isn’t science fiction. More than three-quarters of insurance executives believe artificial intelligence will revolutionise the industry within a few years. By 2030, according to McKinsey futurists, artificial intelligence will mean your car and life insurance premiums could change based on whether you decide to take one route or another.

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Ex-con app developers are disrupting price-gouging prison phones


 Bloomberg reports that inmate messaging apps like Pigeonly, InmateAid, and Flikshop now have millions of users — and are poised to disrupt prison phone companies’ decades-old monopoly.

All started by ex-inmates, these apps aim to give inmates and their families a more affordable way to stay in contact –and bring prisons out of the digital Stone Age without sacrificing their grip on security.

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Why haven’t we cured cancer? American Cancer Society – world’s wealthiest “non-profit “


Have you ever wondered where all the money goes that you donate to the American Cancer Society ?With the advancement of medicine, you’d think scientists would have unlocked the cure by now with the ACS’s help. Right?.

Is there more to this story than meets the eye?Apparently, the American Cancer Society seems to like the status quo. People with cancer are unnecessarily dying, when a cure is probably within reach of American scientists.

There’s a lot of money to be made by chemotherapy and other primitive treatments especially for the board members and their companies that sit on the ACS board.

“The American Cancer Society is fixated on damage control— diagnosis and treatment— and basic molecular biology, with indifference or even hostility to cancer prevention.

This myopic mindset is compounded by interlocking conflicts of interest with the cancer drug, mammography, and other industries.

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Dutch central bank warns about the rise of the cashless society


No cash here.

The Dutch central bank DNB said on Tuesday it had concerns about the decline in the use of cash, saying the lightning-fast rise in digital payments could lead to vulnerable groups having limited access to goods and services.

While apps and other digital methods of payment are rising in popularity, ‘there is a risk that certain groups of consumers could be left behind and cut out of the payment systems,’ the bank said in a new report.

‘To make sure that everyone can continue to participate, paying in cash must remain an option. At the same time, the accessibility and ease of electronic payment systems should be improved.’

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Should software engineers care about ethics


It’s time for engineers to hold themselves accountable.

In his essay, “Design’s Lost Generation,” Mike Monteiro describes how he shocked a crowd of designers at a San Francisco tech conference by suggesting design — like medicine, law, and even driving — should be regulated:

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The era of fake video begins


The digital manipulation of video may make the current era of “fake news” seem quaint.

In a dank corner of the internet, it is possible to find actresses from Game of Thrones or Harry Potter engaged in all manner of sex acts. Or at least to the world the carnal figures look like those actresses, and the faces in the videos are indeed their own. Everything south of the neck, however, belongs to different women. An artificial intelligence has almost seamlessly stitched the familiar visages into pornographic scenes, one face swapped for another. The genre is one of the cruelest, most invasive forms of identity theft invented in the internet era. At the core of the cruelty is the acuity of the technology: A casual observer can’t easily detect the hoax.

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The rise of strategic narrative in marketing


It’s no secret that a person who talks endlessly about themselves is a bore. For years, businesses have been guilty of this “look at me” approach when it comes to positioning and messaging. Mission statements, inward value manifestos and the overuse of self-serving superlatives result in a dead end of unfocused and uninspiring brand messaging.

But the use of narrative in marketing is quietly and slowly gaining traction. While storytelling has helped move the needle away from traditional messaging approaches, narrative addresses the more strategic role industry vision and leadership play in the growth and success of an organization.

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Perfect prams for perfect parents: the rise of the bougie buggy


How the rise of the luxury pram capitalised on the status anxiety of a new generation of parents

Before she had a baby, Kari Boiler never noticed what kinds of buggies were on the streets. But when Boiler – an American then working for an advertising agency in Amsterdam – became pregnant with her first child in 2001, she realised that the city’s pavements were dominated by a single buggy: the Frog, a sleek, futuristic stroller designed by a tiny Dutch company called Bugaboo. “It was all over Amsterdam – you didn’t see another stroller,” she said.

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Your smart TV is watching you watching TV, Consumer Reports finds



Consumer Reports reported that Samsung and Roku Smart TVs were vulnerable to hacking through a web-based attack.

Millions of smart TVs sitting in family living rooms are vulnerable to hackers taking control — and could be tracking the household’s personal viewing habits much more closely than their owners realize, according to a new Consumer Reports investigation.

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The Pirate Bay is secretly running a Bitcoin miner in the background, increasing your CPU usage


When it comes to the Pirate Bay, it’s usually movie studios, music producers and software creators that get annoyed with the site — you know, copyright and all that. But in an interesting twist it is now users who find themselves irked by — and disappointed in — the most famous torrent site in the world.

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