October 2014

Chairperson’s Corner: The Transformational Force Of Technology

By Albert Moore

Albert Moore

Technology is a force. That force works in three critical ways:

  1. Technology changes how we work,
  2. Technology changes what we can accomplish, and
  3. Technology changes the transferal of information.

Technology is a transformational force.

How is technology impacting the actuarial profession? Closer to home, how is technology changing our careers?

As a member of the Technology Section, have you given any thought to the type of research you would like our section to commission and sponsor? Is there a question, related to technology you would like answered? Is there a theory you have for which you would like empirical evidence, pro or con, to test an idea?

Recently, our section received such a proposal. It has been some time since we have sponsored research. There are many surveys and studies on topics of interest to actuaries. Few deal with how technology impacts us.

For example, I have a question that would be helpful to maintain my career relevance. What programming languages are most useful for actuaries to learn? I work in a non-traditional role in addition to performing traditional functions of an actuary. Many universities are teaching C++, Matlab or SAS which are two great utilities. How many actuaries actually need such skills?My team programs in Pascal! Yes, that is correct, the same Pascal from way back when. Yet, today’s Pascal is object oriented, which is quite a different flavor from the old linear programming model.

Modeling requirements are changing rapidly. PTS and APL workspaces have come and gone.Technology allows for a new breed of modeling utilities. What are you using today? Is there any indication, research or prediction as to where such tools are headed? I do not want to plug any particular approach, but I would like to have an idea of what will be needed five years from now.Tools for hedging, modeling regulatory requirements, scenario generation, pricing, valuation and other modeling disciplines are evolving. I would like some idea as to where the trends will lead us. I would like to create a dialogue that may lead to Technology Section sponsorship of a research project. Ideas are needed. Also, volunteers would be needed. I would like to work on creating a proposal over the next few months of my remaining term as chairman. Please email with ideas, suggestions, questions, concepts and feedback.

Albert J. Moore, ASA, MAAA, is second vice president, Actuarial Systems at Ohio National Financial Services in Cincinnati, Ohio. He can be contacted at ajmoore@alum.mit.edu.