Each new technology we come up with is a new technology that increases our risk. Some things like autonomous vehicles, 5G, & robotic automation can bring important advancements, but everything has its risks.
Fully autonomous and self-driving vehicles – still decades away from become mainstream, will revolutionize many things. Death rates may drop, the need for multi-car ownership may drop, productivity may increase, and transportation costs may decrease. Imagine if you could use the commute to and from work to get work done, do your shopping, follow up with mom, plan your schedule. Sounds amazing right? Our society would instantly receive 30 – 90 minutes of extra time a day.
This new technology introduces risks such as hacking and theft. There are also concerns about the liability for these vehicles if the software or computer were to fail or miscalculate data. Much of the liability in the past was placed on the driver and on negligent corporations. Commercial liability insurance and fleet insurance protected businesses from accidents, but now it would seem that the risks in the future may fall more in line with car manufacturers.
This makes one wonder if the cost of manufacturing cars will continue to skyrocket due to the increased risk of liability.
With the growing rise in artificial intelligence, there is an increasing risk of failure to deliver crucial information. If one service rep in the call center makes a wrong decision or clicks the wrong thing, then the risk is minimal with it being such an isolated incident, but as Artificial Intelligence and machine learning become more mainline, it means that we are also placing our security on algorithms that may not operate completely on common sense.
Artificial intelligence is placing extreme faith in the validity of data to make its decisions, which means that our data must be more accurate than ever before.
There are also challenges to ethics when it comes to AI. The lines between what’s ethical and what is just business will become more blurred as time passes. There is much good with AI. Chances are that you’ve interacted with AI online already. Because I had been in the tech industry for some time, I noticed that I was interacting with AI when I was trying to go through the process of returning something at Amazon. I was just completely blown away at how fast, easy, and accurate it was.
Robotics is being infused into so many aspects of our lives. From checkouts, warehouse management, logistics, deliveries, etc. I read the other day about how an automatic task can read your emails and text messages and automatically send replies for you.
With the global pandemic in 2020 that affected so many people, the need to be isolated or reduce contact became high in need. The need for robotics is also increasing because the amount of time we are consuming with other things seem to want to increase. I mean, who wants to vacuum your floors any more? You can get a robot vacuum to do that for you. The modern trend of robotics is more advanced than robot vacuums by now, but you get the gist. Of course, our lives are valuable, so the military is also testing out more robotics in combat situations. There is lots of money and research going into drones and robotic soldiers on the battlefield.
The boom in the drone business is growing as well. As roads and highways become more congested and as transportation and workforce become limited, drones will continue to grow as well. Drones aren’t perfect though. There are some serious questions and precautions that need to be dealt with before they become more streamlined. Safety is a concern here, so insuring yourself from mistakes that drones make as opposed to human error will become a factor.
It seems that there are smart homes and smart everything now. According to Cision PR Newswire, the internet of things market will reach US$ 1111.3 Bn by 2026. We want our phone to work with our lights, oven, car, central air, sprinkler, water heater, tv, doors, doorbells, security, and watches. I’m sure I’m missing a few dozen things in that list, but you get the gist. With more things connected to WiFi and the internet, there are more risks involved with stolen data, hacking, and sabotage.
Delivering more of what the customer wants but protecting customer data is becoming increasingly challenging. Technology gets old and hackers learn about vulnerabilities. Firmware and software must be consistently updated, and in time, even the hardware must be replaced due to incompatibilities with newer tech and the inability to actually protect it from bad actors.
A business that uses these technologies will improve productivity, but they must also be vigilant in protecting their company, their employees, and customer information.
I’m sure we are all aware of 5G now. Inc Magazine says it will arrive full-throttle by 2023. We’ve seen the commercials, billboards, and advertisements. There’s been chatter about how 5G has the potential to change many things. 5G can be a catalyst that will also drive innovation in the other areas of tech that we’ve already mentioned in IoT, robotics, and automation.
So what’s the deal with 5G. Well, currently our mobile internet is very constricting. There are still slow speeds, limited distances, and a limited number of device connections. 5G will allow faster speeds, more connected devices, and even lower power consumption. The step from 2G to 3G to 4G was more incremental, but the setup from 4G to 5G is more transformational. It will expand and open innovation in ways that we’ve only seen in movies.
So, what’s the risk you say? Good question. The risk is that security and safety will lag behind the speed of growth and innovation. 20 years ago, your business just needed a good shredder and a black magic marker. Now, you need IT, security manager, monitoring, audits, etc.
In case you’re wondering – yes, they are already working on 6G and are saying that it too will be transformational.
Over time, the ultimate risk of all of these new technologies is our dependency upon them. Imagine placing your financial security, healthcare, and safety completely dependent upon these techs only to one day have things catastrophically wiped out. I don’t know, maybe I’ve seen too many movies?
Technology is disruptive and because of that uncertainty, there are risks to insurers who are unsure how to quote or navigate through the uncharted waters that new technology brings. Many inventions are introduced to reduce the amount of risk involved but wind up opening the door to risk elsewhere.
Alliance Insurance is expanding our portfolio of services to protect you and your business from these risks. General liability insurance, umbrella insurance, commercial auto insurance will offer you a complete package of protection for your business’ future.
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