artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence: Don't let the train pass!

The beginning of 2018 is resolutely placed under the sign of Artificial Intelligence. Several events are marking the news in France and on the international scene: in Las Vegas, voice and artificial intelligence were the driving forces behind CES 2018 and the eagerly awaited report by Cédric Villani, a mathematician and LREM deputy from Essonne, charged by the Prime Minister with a mission on artificial intelligence.
As a European citizen and business leader, Jacques Richier, who more than a year ago created an entity dedicated to Big Data and Artificial Intelligence at Allianz to meet the insurance challenges of tomorrow, means that this widely feared technology can also be synonymous with progress provided that we commit ourselves to taming it: How can we seize this opportunity to enter the new knowledge economy now? How can we make it an element of French competitiveness and differentiation? How can Europe stand out in this debate?
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Ahe emergence of Artificial Intelligence at a key moment in the development of the knowledge economy - which Western countries have been calling for over the last 20 years - now brings a new turning point to this social project.
It is a fact that our societies have conceived the advent of the knowledge economy as the 4th level of economic value creation, after the agricultural, industrial and service revolutions. This was to be a result: that of a generalised high level of competence. With this in mind, young people have been trained for longer and longer, reaching the doors of the world of work with more and more diplomas. The current developments in Artificial Intelligence are a turning point, bringing the knowledge economy into a new era.
Our business models themselves have evolved along the same lines: manufacturing, which was the key, has gradually been replaced by innovation and design, which have become the real sources of differentiation and value creation in the long term. The first lesson we must learn from this evolution is that in the knowledge economy, new business models must evolve rapidly or else they will disappear. Artificial Intelligence is one of the catalysts of this evolution.
The question facing us, entrepreneurs and citizens is therefore the following: how can we seize the opportunity offered by Artificial Intelligence to enter now into the new knowledge economy? How to make it an element of French competitiveness and differentiation? If we want to be part of it, what role do companies have to play? 
As soon as it is recognized that Artificial Intelligence embodies an important part of the economy in the 21st century, then there is no need to hesitate: we have to get involved!
Every effort must be made at the national level to ensure that our country takes ownership of this opportunity. This requires a real consideration of the stakes, the implementation of appropriate training to develop talent into skills, and the anticipation of the new services provided by Artificial Intelligence on a daily basis, in the professional and domestic worlds.
The extent of the upheaval has been well understood in France and in Europe. Now, we must act and provide ourselves with the means to meet the historic challenge. We run a real risk of being paralyzed by sterile debates such as "for or against Artificial Intelligence" instead of asking ourselves "what means should we give ourselves to compete with the billions of dollars invested each year by the United States and China to make Artificial Intelligence an element of responsible growth? ». If we do not ask ourselves this question, in 10 years time, our country will have no chance to stand comparison with those who have taken Artificial Intelligence on board in an industrial way.
Clearly, it is on a European scale that the battle of Artificial Intelligence can be won. Europe wants to shine as a competitive continent according to an alternative model that it intends to promote. France has the best experts in Artificial Intelligence to promote. It must be one of the leaders within the European Union to take up this subject. It would be a mistake not to fully seize this opportunity!
However, at this crucial time, it is clear that Artificial Intelligence continues to be approached from a regulatory and ethical perspective.
If it is indeed necessary to be a player in the regulatory framework that is currently being established, Europe should not spend most of its energy on framing the development of Artificial Intelligence, but rather on encouraging it. Yes, the ethics of "learning" algorithms is a real issue for society, and the CNIL has taken it on board: it published its recommendations at the end of last year. Let us consider this particular vigilance that characterizes French regulations as an opportunity. It already provides real safeguards to many fears when we talk about Artificial Intelligence.
Let's not let the fear of the unknown blind us to the major opportunities opened by Artificial Intelligence! Let us act now on a voluntary basis.
It is now that Europe must work to develop Artificial Intelligence and to increase the capacity of its future players.
Let's ask ourselves, as a matter of priority, what means we can put on the table to prevent the train from passing. Let us be stakeholders in the development of Artificial Intelligence! Let's set up a real innovation ecosystem around Artificial Intelligence! Let us be courageous, ambitious and humane.
On the corporate side, let's move forward in full awareness of our responsibility: that of developing new services thanks to Artificial Intelligence, let's actively integrate it into our operations while remembering that we have to invent a new complementarity between man and machine.
In my sector of activity, like many others, one thing is certain: while we do not know what the insurance model will be tomorrow, it is certain that it will be transformed by Artificial Intelligence. So let's anticipate its impact on the business lines, let's transform the daily tasks where the business lines are likely to evolve, let's install employees in new operational processes and let's make Artificial Intelligence a real subject of transformation and enhanced service.
Let's say it without fear: Artificial Intelligence is a form of progress, and like any progress, it questions. It is natural to lend to any progress, whose contours are by definition unknown, multiple contents, some of which are obviously debated. To grasp the progress proposed by Artificial Intelligence requires an effort not to dwell first on the subjects of concern, but to consider serenely what Artificial Intelligence makes us gain as individuals or as a collectivity in terms of intelligence.
Companies are already testing solutions based on machine learning in different areas to analyse its impact and improve the speed of execution in the customer journey. For my job as an insurer, at the heart of which is risk pricing, we can expect the learning machine to make us smarter in the future in understanding risks and pricing them fairly for the benefit of everyone.
This is a great step forward, let's welcome it for what it is: progress!
Jacques Richier, CEO of Allianz France

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