Artificial intelligence is one of, if not the most, disruptive pieces of technology that’s currently in development. The thought of being able to create an artificial entity that’s capable of learning and adapting is one that was only previously imagined in movies. But at this point, it would seem that the advent of artificial intelligence is near.
This new tech is bound to bring with it a slew of benefits as well as create new problems for us. But that’s how it goes. Now, in an attempt to mitigate the instances of car accidents, many tech companies are developing self-driving cars.
The rationale behind this is that by eliminating human error (which is the cause of over 90 percent of all car accidents), the roads would also be about 90 percent safer. After all, computers don’t get drunk, browse Tinder while driving, or get angry while on the road.
So, how is this bad for car insurance companies?
Well, it’s rather simple. The premium of insurance policies are bound to rise. Why?
Because self-driving cars are a new technology, and they haven’t become available to the public. There is little to no data available that would determine what the insurable risks are, how much insurers are going to cover, and what risks are involved in the operation of fully-autonomous cars.
Without the necessary data from which the computation of premiums can be derived, insurers have no choice but to price their premiums higher in order to counteract this lack of data. With so few car models that are fully autonomous, the data surrounding these cars is almost zero. The fact that a self-driving car was involved in a fatal accident doesn’t help their case either.
Is it really that bad?
Not necessarily. While it’s true that data is limited, the fact that these cars are able to collect and share so much data, the lack of data may not be a problem that we have to deal with very long.
This is due in large part to the Internet of Things (IoT) which means that these cars are going to be able to gather and share real-time data with each other. So, the wait may not be as long as initially thought to be. This means that insurers and policy holders aren’t going to be stuck in a static relationship, but rather in a dynamic relationship where, as data grows, the premiums and policies may change. This means that car insurance companies like Allstate will eventually adjust their premiums to match the appropriate risks involved in the operation of self-driving cars.
So, why won’t this be a bad thing for the car insurance industry?
The short reason is that fully autonomous cars still have a long way to go before they become standard in society. The technology simply isn’t ready yet for consumer use. The reason that the technology is taking so long to deploy is that the lives of people are at stake. The technology needs to be absolutely foolproof when deployed.
Just think about it. When a self-driving car causes an accident, how do you determine liability? Do you hold the car manufacturers accountable? How about the passengers? What happens in the case where the internet connection fails and causes an accident because the car loses its ability to collect and share information? Do you then sue the internet service provider?
There are simply too many unknown variables in this equation for us to come up with a definite and workable answer. But, be that as it may, at the rate at which we’re able to process data with our current technology, we can only imagine how much more we’d be able to do with artificial intelligence. But, until that time comes, all we can do for now is speculate.