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Thursday, April 11, 2019

Taking the lead in data science | Features - The Actuary

Photo: John Taylor
John Taylor, president-elect of the IFoA, reflects on the growth of big data – and why actuaries should be at the heart of it.

Photo: © IKON
Data science, in all its manifestations, is rarely out of the public eye these days. Why has it become such a hot topic, though, and what role should actuaries play in understanding and explaining it?

The emergence of data science
To understand the emergence of data science we need to consider a couple of things. First, the ‘comet tail’ of data we all generate as we navigate the modern world is increasing exponentially. Every time we interact online, purchase an item, travel or share our content, the volume of data we create proliferates at an incredible rate. In 2015, for example, 90% of the data then in existence had been created in the previous two years – a rate that continues to accelerate...

New challenges, trusted skills
Of course, it could be said that actuaries are the original data scientists, with an approach to ‘big data’ that stretches back to the 1700s. Indeed, the fundamental techniques that enable the modern practice of data science are not necessarily new, and many of our members would instantly recognise much of the mathematical ‘wiring’ that underpins concepts such as machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Source: The Actuary