Artificial intelligence – At the heart of a transformation
Artificial intelligence, or AI, is an indispensable decision-making tool that has recently taken myriad industries in our daily lives by storm, including transportation, commerce, finance and health, just to name a few. While the concept seemed quite futuristic just a few years ago, artificial intelligence now enjoys overwhelming popularity and is evolving at lightning speed. It is said that AI has the potential to increase profitability for all types of businesses by 38% by the year 2035.
Big data and artificial intelligence: What’s it all about?
At the TELUS Health Annual Conference in Montréal, François Laviolette, Professor, Faculty of Sciences and Engineering and Director, Big Data Research Centre (BDRC), Université Laval was invited to unveil the mysteries behind these concepts and explain the anticipated objectives and benefits.
Big data is a concept used to envision the colossal quantities of data we have today, specifically owing to technological advancements. Accordingly, by using the 4V’s for big data (volume, velocity, variety and veracity), the objective is to explore new ways to centralize and analyze data to find the answer to a question.
Artificial intelligence is what gives these data meaning. Thanks to artificial intelligence, we can analyze tremendous amounts of data at once and find patterns, enabling the best possible decisions to be made. The objective is therefore to group together unstructured or heterogeneous data and draw enlightening conclusions. (For more information on this topic, view the video of the presentation by Professor François Laviolette.)
In recent years, artificial intelligence has paved the way for significant advancements in numerous fields thanks to data analysis: personalization of learning in response to students’ needs and competencies, disease prevention, security enhancement for all means of transportation, etc.
Artificial intelligence in the insurance industry
While the insurance industry may have been criticized in the past for its often complex and non-intuitive processes, the advent of artificial intelligence has brought about the potential to completely overhaul the industry, both in terms of services rendered and the customer experience.
For a few years now, insurance companies have been able to rely on artificial intelligence for all the steps in the claims process. In fact, claims can now be processed without human intervention. It is said that companies that already use artificial intelligence to process certain steps in their claims process are realizing significant gains in terms of turnaround time and quality of claim request processing. What’s important to note is that it appears that artificial intelligence helps to prevent fraudulent claims, which cost the industry more than $40 billion each year. 
Chatbots, or software robots, are gradually being used by insurance companies to keep in touch with their clients. Using an automated conversation service (written or verbal), thanks to artificial intelligence, these robots can analyze and understand fairly specific client requests, whether in relation to claims submitted, product sales, or even to verify that a client has appropriate insurance coverage. Apparently, for chatbots to be fully effective, they must be able to understand the client’s natural language and analyze his or her feelings. In the future, artificial intelligence will enable chatbots to be increasingly complex and evolved in the insurance industry, backed by the potential to process a tremendous quantity of data.
Along these same lines, artificial intelligence enables insurance company agents to no longer need to worry about repetitive tasks, giving them more time to spend with clients. In fact, agents are now able to better pinpoint their clients’ needs and offer them more personalized services in a proactive manner. Accordingly, artificial intelligence makes it possible to respond to concerns before they have even been expressed, thereby nurturing much stronger client relationships.
A promising future
Artificial intelligence is a tool for major reform in numerous sectors in Canada and around the world, and its effect could be as impactful as the advent of the Internet. We are proud that the City of Montreal stands out as a North American leader in artificial intelligence due to its growing companies, research centres, impressive projects and talented researchers. This exemplary collaboration between various stakeholders is at the heart of this major success that continues to arouse envy around the globe.
Undoubtedly, every reform comes with its share of ethical, economic, legal and security challenges that will need serious consideration in the coming years. Nonetheless, it’s better to see the glass as half full. The potential and benefits of artificial intelligence are limitless for society and especially for companies, which have already ascertained that artificial intelligence accelerates production, increases productivity, and reduces fees and delays.
 Pourquoi l’intelligence artificielle est le futur de la croissance – Rapport Accenture 2017