The 11th edition of the BNP Paribas Cardif Symposium took place in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on 5 and 6 December 2019. This event brought together BNP Paribas Cardif’s main international distribution partners around the theme of: Tackling hyper-digitalised environments...
More than 200 participants, from 28 countries, attended keynote talks delivered by renowned speakers. It was an opportunity to share the risks and opportunities - for the planet, the business, the city and even individuals - posed by digitalisation pushed to its limits, and also to take a lead faced with the challenges of hyper-digitalisation for the insurance industry. “Digitalisation is contributing significantly to polluting our planet, but also our minds” said Renaud Dumora, CEO of BNP Paribas Cardif, in the introduction. “The key is to find the right balance between digitalisation, which is a source of opportunities and new services, and human interactions which remain crucial.”
1. Hyper-digitalisation and business
Catherine Wood, founder and CEO of ARK Investment Management LLC (USA), emphasised the five major sources of innovation: blockchain, robotics, energy storage, artificial intelligence and genome sequencing. She said that “with hyper-digitalisation we are now observing transformations similar to those experienced with the discovery of electricity or the telephone.”.
“We’re not worried about job losses”, she noted. “Technology has a history of creating jobs.” Her conclusion is clear: “Any leader that does not take hold of Data and Artificial Intelligence to manage their business will responsible for its failure. If businesses do not adapt, they will lose their market. Be ready!”
2. Hyper-digitalisation and the economy
For Christopher Pissarides, a Professor at the London School of Economics and recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2010, “hyper-digitalisation will disrupt our way of living and working”. The challenge? Making this revolution as inclusive as possible to improve the quality of life of all and to benefit as many people as possible. In the same way that some jobs benefit from new technologies, while others become obsolete, certain skills are becoming more valuable while others can be replaced. Thus two movements are developing in parallel. On the one hand, we have the agglomeration of activities, like in Silicon Valley, where tasks must be carried out by qualified employees. Businesses prefer positioning themselves where they have varied resources and skills at their disposal in order to perform better. On the other hand, we have e-commerce which allows platforms to sell from anywhere in the world.
3. Hyper-digitalisation and urbanisation
Arjan Van Timmeren, Professor of Environmental Technology & Design at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, highlighted the acceleration of change in highly varied domains: energy, water, behaviour, sustainable development, etc. Digitalisation provides solutions - often more sustainable and efficient - to ensure that these changes succeed, even the most rapid ones. His advice? “To adopt new technologies with caution, taking into account people’s privacy, in particular.”
4. Hyper-digitalisation and individuals
Ayesha Khanna, co-founder and CEO of ADDO AI (Singapore), used examples to demonstrate how hyper-digitalisation is already changing our lives, notably in cities like Singapore. “The question is not about knowing if new technologies work or not, but what their consequences are and how to use them well. To make good decisions, you need to remain human-centric. We should all be aware of the basics of artificial intelligence in order to grasp the issues at stake. The main threat is not the technology itself, but how to use it. It is all therefore a question of governance.”
All the speakers agree that we are now at a crossroads. Our collective decisions and actions point us to a future that we have the ability to shape. This hyper-digitalisation implies new challenges but also great opportunities for society, businesses and people. Indeed, it lets us respond more quickly and more accurately to the expectations of citizens, employees and consumers, provided that the inherent risks are handled carefully and that the dignity of people and the future of the planet are maintained under all circumstances.