Natural intelligence

Oct 28, 2019

During the early years of AI research the Nobel Prize winner for economics, the psychologist Danny Kahneman, was asked whether he studied the brain and decision making in order to contribute to the field of AI. He responded that in actual fact he much preferred to examine facets of human stupidity. Referencing how people often make decisions in ways they cannot explain he went on to develop the discipline of behavioural economics to examine how heuristics or non-rational rules of thumb play an important part in our thinking and decisions.

This intrinsically human view should guide our assessment of AI. Automation of highly repeatable administrative processes and tasks present huge opportunities. Well designed supervised learning methods are already very effective in this area. However, business leaders should be vigilant to the risk of mistaking rational methods of correlation and causation when applying machine learning to more complex fields. Our work in insurance telematics has already highlighted specific scenarios where the correlation of driving behaviour and claims data can be misleading when providing driver feedback. AI undoubtedly presents enormous opportunity but we must remember the character of the original intelligence its seeks to replace and the inherent risks we must guard against.

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