On 21 June, members of the Society of Northern Ireland Actuaries (SoNIA) met for its annual Wider Fields event on the topics of data analytics, big data and artificial intelligence.
SoNIA welcomed Marjorie Ngwenya, immediate past president of the IFoA, and Andrew Wilson, head of machine learning group at Kx Systems, to discuss the future of the actuarial profession in the face of a changing industry.
Andrew led a discussion on data science and the development of artificial intelligence. With the growth of ubiquitous sensors, social media and the internet of things, many non-financial industries are starting to experience data volumes similar to those in finance. As a result, innovative techniques that were once unique to financial organisations are finding use in other industries, which are seeking to derive insights from their datasets. Andrew concluded that the actuarial science skillset is in demand in areas outside of actuaries' traditional roles.
Marjorie gave us an overview of her year as president and her theme, 'Advancing the profession'. She outlined her vision for the future and highlighted the need for actuaries to adapt to and embrace the profession's changing work environment.
After the event, the members were only too happy to take Marjorie and Andrew to visit one of Northern Ireland's best-known pubs, the Crown Bar, for a well-deserved refreshment.