The Sixth Wave of Innovation: Cognitive Computing in Insurance

The very nature of innovation is rapid change. Combined with market demands and supported by an environment fertile for change, the path is paved for disruptive technologies. The past 75 years have seen six waves of technology innovation, beginning with the era of mainframes back in the 60’s, followed by the advent of personal computers. Client server computing represented the third wave, followed by the introduction of enterprise systems. Subsequently, the medium that connects us all, the ‘Internet’, became a reality at the turn of the century. The fifth wave came in the form of enterprise computing followed by an evolution towards a mobile lifestyle with the introduction of the smartphone. We are now on the verge of a sixth wave: cognitive computing.

The Sixth Wave: Cognitive Computing

In 2011 IBM’s revolutionary computer, Watson, defeated two humans in the game Jeopardy to mark the arrival of the sixth wave of technological innovation, cognitive computing. Thus began an era of self-learning systems able to simulate human thought processes.

Cognitive computing, simply stated, is the simulation of human thought process in a computerized model. Think of it as a computer that understands your natural language and applies machine-learning techniques to analyze the context of your conversation to predict outcomes with the power of data mining.

2013 marked the shift of cognitive computing from idea to commercialization with the debut of an application developed to aid management decisions at a Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Today, cognitive giants like IBM’s Watson, Google’s DeepMind and SalesForce’s newly acquired MetaMind are focused on discovering synergies from the integration of deep machine learning and data analysis.

So what impact can the advent of cognitive computing have on the Insurance industry? Read more…


The article was originally published on Insurance Innovation Reporter in August 25, 2016 and is re-posted here by permission. The complete article can be accessed here.