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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Police in Canada are tracking people’s ‘negative’ behavior in a ‘risk’ database

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 The database includes detailed, but “de-identified,” information about people’s lives culled from conversations between police, social services, health workers, and more.

Police, social services, and health workers in Canada are using shared databases to track the behaviour of vulnerable people—including minors and people experiencing homelessness—with little oversight and often without consent.

Documents obtained by Motherboard from Ontario’s Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS) through an access to information request show that at least two provinces—Ontario and Saskatchewan—maintain a “Risk-driven Tracking Database” that is used to amass highly sensitive information about people’s lives. Information in the database includes whether a person uses drugs, has been the victim of an assault, or lives in a “negative neighborhood.”

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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.

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.

Continue reading… “Very risky business: the pros and cons of insurance companies embracing artificial intelligence”

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