How artificial intelligence will transform the economy
Artificial intelligence is widely regarded as revolutionary progress. We have already seen the advent of train control systems capable of determining when the next maintenance interval is due. And, in the healthcare segment, apparently there are AI robots that can assist nursing staff in hospitals with providing care to their patients. Of all the technological advances that have sprung up as a result of digitalisation, artificial intelligence is the one that is most likely to revolutionise our operations, production processes and consumer behaviour.
Artificial intelligence complements human labour and increases productivity
Unlike other technological advances, artificial intelligence can not only replace human labour, it can also complement it. In medicine, doctors, for instance, can carry out diagnoses using intelligent digital assistants that sift through huge medical knowledge data bases.
Insurance market to benefit from artificial intelligence
A very optimistic study conducted by Accenture and Frontier Economics has projected that by 2035 artificial intelligence will trigger a 10–40% increase in labour productivity in eleven western industrialised countries and Japan. If we are to believe the authors of this study, economic growth in the aforementioned countries will thus double by 2035 thanks to the widespread use of artificial intelligence. Even those who do not share this optimism can safely assume that there will be positive growth effects.
The insurance industry too is expected to receive positive impulses from artificial intelligence – and not only from purely macroeconomic stimuli. New products are already being developed around artificial intelligence – for instance, covers for driverless cars, smart factories, smart sensors and losses attributable to cyber crime. Artificial intelligence will also be used in internal underwriting and claims analysis processes, and in asset and risk management. By way of example, property damage assessment in mass business could be automated with the help of imaging technology and with a much greater level of detail than previously possible. Likewise, investment decisions could be taken even more rapidly and on a more informed basis than before thanks to the analysis of large quantities of unstructured data.
Workplace set for fundamental change
Does this mean there will be a significant rise in unemployment if these tasks are performed by intelligent machines in the future? Structural changes in the economy are a historical constant. Nevertheless (or perhaps precisely for this reason), prosperity has risen continuously, and human beings have always found new fields of activity. The OECD projects that, while around 9% of all jobs in developed countries have a high probability of being lost to automation, many new positions will be created. The introduction and further development of artificial intelligence in all areas of life will lead to a huge spike in demand for IT and other specialists. Moreover, the replacement of human labour by artificial intelligence will often be rejected on economic and social grounds. And creative activities, and those that require a high degree of social interaction, e.g. designers and kindergarten teachers, will presumably become more important in an increasingly digitalised world.
Life-long learning and IT know-how will become indispensable
Given the profound changes that will occur as a result of the expansion of artificial intelligence, some very fundamental, ethical questions have been raised, and these will need to be addressed by politicians, economists and society as a whole.