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

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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.

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