April 2014

Chairperson’s Corner

By Albert Moore

Albert Moore“The purposeful application of information in the design, production, and utilization of goods and services, and in the organization of human activities.”

That's the definition of technology from the business dictionary: BusinessDictionary.com/definition/technology

I love technology. I love studying it. I love applying it. I love experimenting with it. I love explaining it to others.

I also love definitions. I love comparing and analyzing words and their meanings. I enjoy mentally exploring the varied meanings of words. “Cool” is “hot.” “Hot” is “trendy,” while “cold” can be both. “Warm?” Well, I do not quite know! I amuse myself with such thoughts.

The Technology Section sponsors the “purposeful application of information.” Today there are myriad sources of information. I still like reading old fashioned print sources of information, formerly known as books. Now we have iBooks, eBooks and other digital forms of information. The Internet serves as a readily available information portal.

Coming soon members of the Technology Section will have another source of information, GetAbstract. Most recently, GetAbstract was a benefit offered only to members of the Management and Personal Development (MPD) Section. The Technology Section has partnered with MPD and the Entrepreneurial Actuaries (EA) Section to offer this benefit to our members as well.

Rather than reinvent an explanation, Mary Pat Campbell wrote the following in an article from the August 2013 edition of the Stepping Stone newsletter:

“GetAbstract is a service that summarizes business-related books in five pages. Each summary consists of a page of bulleted takeaways, a high-level description of the book, and three-and-a-half pages of summary of the content along with some quotes directly from the book in the margins. These summaries come in a variety of formats (PDF, e-book formats, mobile-friendly PDF) and even an audio version (MP3), which is less than 10 minutes for each summary.”

View the complete instructions or visit GetAbstract.com for sample summaries.

For summaries that really pique your interest, there are opportunities to purchase the complete work.

I recently subscribed as a member of MPD. Knowing that I would be travelling, I downloaded several summaries. “Humble Inquiry” encouraged me to learn the art of “asking” rather than my usual “telling” approach. It was a perfect read while awaiting a flight.

Once you try the new service, I encourage members to recommend and email me summaries and books that may be helpful to others. In subsequent newsletters, I will include selected recommendations. In addition, share recommendations of summaries to colleagues and friends. There is no better way to demonstrate the value of section membership than to share your expertise with friends and colleagues.

Speaking of sharing expertise … Would you like to volunteer to write a newsletter article or speak at an event, evaluate mobile applications, or come up with ways other actuaries can effectively incorporate technology? There are many opportunities for section members to contribute.

In April, the section will offer a webcast exploring the concept and benefits of cloud computing. The section will again sponsor sessions at the various SOA meetings. On May 21, 2014 (immediately following the Life and Annuity Symposium) the Technology Section will explore concepts of Data Analytics from a practical hands on perspective, tackling several mortality, lapse/withdrawal and other actuarial case studies using Excel, R, SQL, MS Access, SAS and other readily available tools.

Your membership continues to foster networking events and sponsor actuarial research. Your section membership is at work promoting technology adoption in the actuarial profession. I welcome your feedback and suggestions for topics to explore and ways to expand and improve the value of Technology Section membership.

Albert J. Moore, ASA, MAAA, is second vice president, Actuarial Systems at Ohio National Financial Services in Cincinnati, Ohio. He can be contacted at albert_moore@ohionational.com.