Tavio Roxo, CEO and Founder, OWLs Software
If there is anything that the pandemic has taught us, it is that technology solves many but not all problems. People need technology but sometimes, they want humans too. It is up to organisations to determine where the line needs to be drawn regarding where tech ends and humans take over.
In order to understand human-technology relations, we need to recognise how worldwide technology trends and themes affect how we interact with technology, how we create technology, and more importantly how we should all potentially see technology over the next few years. The following themes outline how technology impacts our digital & commercial world, our lives in South Africa and the world of insurance.
The progression and advancement of technological infrastructure is evident in the increased internet access globally which has ultimately changed our lives personally and commercially. Globally, we are deploying approximately 60 satellites every 2 weeks. The development of technology has allowed companies such as Alphabet and SpaceX to launch more satellites into space in the last 12 months. This is creating a vast network of communication infrastructure in the sky, creating a broadband connection to an internet terminal anywhere in the world, and blanketing the globe with high-speed internet.
There will no longer be a need to trench holes in the ground to lay fibre and people in the most rural of places will have access to the internet, and of course create greater access to digital insurance products.
We cannot discuss technology infrastructure without speaking about cloud based services. We all use them on an average of 40 times per day.
The new notion of tiny-AI is an emerging generation of specialized AI chips that pack more computational power into a tighter physical space and train the AI locally on devices. This will enable high-latency to achieve faster processing times and will allow for real time mobile-based medical image processing or real time trend analysis to determine anomalies.
An example could perhaps be utilising the phone’s tiny AI chip to process medical data analysis to predict if someone is about to have a heart attack and whether or not they should pull over before they potentially crash, or are directed to go to a hospital to avoid a funeral claim. This could prove to be a game changer in the insurance industry.
This tiny AI technology idea, primarily stems in part from the advancement in technology hardware and software, but also from the idea that data is private and should either be stored locally or encrypted in transit and ultimately at rest.
In the last 12 months, we have seen an increase in the focus on the privacy of an individual’s data. Worldwide there has for many years been legislation enacted in various jurisdictions to ensure the privacy of said individual’s data. In South Africa, the adoption of the POPIA legislation has been enacted to ensure data remains anonymous and private.
Security is something that must be ever present in any technology buildout. We need to understand that security breaches are happening every day and must consider the data and associated security impact of where the tech stops and us, as humans, take over. There are risks in both areas both from a machine or tech point of view, or with a human. As insurers, UMAs, intermediaries and tech providers there will always need to be a recognition that we are dealing with sensitive data and should do what we can to protect it!
One way to secure systems could be through the use of Blockchain technology, distributed ledgers and NFTs (non-fungible tokens). NFTs exist on a blockchain and they all are premised on the fact that there is a ledger or a record that holds information in a decentralised way across multiple pieces of hardware, and this mere fact makes it more secure.
It is more important now than ever, to understand where our technology starts and where our technology ends, and where humans step in during all the various stages of the insurance policy lifecycle. One has to seriously take a step back and look at the whole picture of your organisation before determining its needs and wants – Tech when we need it and human when we want it.
There just simply is no one size fits all answer to this question. But all in all, no matter how you try and reconcile the question in your mind, there seems to always be a combination of both tech and human.
It is only with this knowledge that we can build insurance products, and technology, to service these millions of customers that we simply did not have access to a few years ago.