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Increased rate of change presents unprecedented challenges: IASA keynote

Increased rate of change presents unprecedented challenges: IASA keynote

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The accelerating pace of change presents unprecedented challenges and opportunity for enterprises and humanity itself, author and entrepreneur Peter Diamandis said Tuesday at the Insurance Accounting and Systems Association Inc.'s annual conference.

Delivering the keynote address, Mr. Diamandis said exponential advances in technology have fundamentally changed our ability to comprehend the world we live in. Whereas for millennia the world was local and linear, the world has just recently become exponential and global due to developments in areas such as computer processing, he said.

“Humans are not prepared to understand the rate of change,” Mr. Diamandis said.

To illustrate the power of the exponential, Mr. Diamandis noted that if one were to walk 30 paces at one meter per step in linear manner, one would go 30 meters. Conversely, if one were to advance 30 paces in an exponential manner, one would travel over 1 billion meters, the equivalent of walking around the Earth 26 times, he said.

Prominent examples of exponential growth in daily life include Moore's Law, which posits that the number of transistors on an integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years, and the growth of the digital universe, where the volume of data created worldwide is rising by 59% a year, Mr. Diamandis said. “What used to be one of the most scarce resources on earth — computing power — is now ubiquitous,” he said.


Moreover, Mr. Diamandis said, we are seeing exponential growth in a multitude of areas.

In the case of the insurance industry, he said the impact of advances in robotics is already becoming apparent in the form of the self-driving cars being developed by Google Inc. Mr. Diamandis said the autonomous vehicle has logged over 300,000 accident-free miles to date and said the technology will undoubtedly alter the nature of auto insurance when widely deployed.

Similarly, he said he sees drastic changes ahead in the field of medicine. He noted that when the first human genome was sequenced a little more than a decade ago, it cost approximately $100 million, while now a person can have their own DNA sequenced for $1,000 and the price continues to drop.

Combined with advances in digital medicine, synthetic biology and even 3-D printing — which are poised to alter longstanding paradigms — he said overall human health should continue to improve as a new generation of scientists pushes boundaries. “Life is a programming language,” he said.

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