Casualty Actuarial Society

Ratemaking and Product Management (RPM) Seminar - Keynote Speaker

Ratemaking and Product Management (RPM) Seminar
March 19–21, 2012

Philadelphia Marriott Downtown
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Keynote Speaker

Kevin Slavin

Kevin Slavin

How Algorithms Shape the World

****Just In****

Kevin Slavin's "How Algorithms Shape the World" presentation was named one of the 18 Great Ideas From 2011 That Can Shape 2012 by The Huffington Post and TED. Read more about 2011's most impactful TEDTalks and see a preview of Kevin Slavin's presentation on The Huffington Post web site.


Kevin understands algorithms as nature - our world is subject to algorithmic optimization, not just on Wall Street, but in our homes, our architecture, and in our cities. Math is shaping our environments, which he calls the 'physics of culture.'

Kevin will talk about the "Quantified Self", which refers to the technologies, companies and culture around digital self-tracking, to improve overall health, performance, and activity. The most well-known example of this is Nike+, which is currently used to track running by over 4MM+ users. But the movement has spread far beyond a single use or technology. The Zeo sleep monitor allows us to monitor our own REM cycles and sleep disturbances. The GPS monitor attached to Asthmapolis inhalers provides us a record of where we were when we needed the inhaler. Where do we go? 10MM+ people record structured data on Foursquare. What do we eat? We record data on Foodspotting. And of course, 23andme -- providing the Personal Genome Service to people who subscribe to it -- only has 100,000 users this year. But how many will it have in ten years?

None of this has been lost on the actuarial and insurance industries, of course, with the introduction of usage-based / PAYD insurance, which takes the locative data from the driver to determine rates. On the whole, however, there is a much wider landscape of data than automobiles, and people are collecting it on their own, often broadcasting it voluntarily. What drives this behavior in the first place, what it means for the people who do it -- and what it means for casualty and actuarial constituents, provide the material for deep consideration. Kevin Slavin has covered much of this as a professor at NYU/ITP and at Cooper Union, and consults with several health-oriented startups around the mechanics, dynamics, and motivation underneath the overall movement.


Kevin understands business and technology from the corporate side as well as from having spent 10 years as an advertising executive for large tech brands like Microsoft and Time Warner.

Kevin has successfully navigated and integrated the areas of gaming, new media, technology, and design. As co-founder of Area/Code in 2005, Kevin was a pioneer in rethinking game design and development around new technologies (like GPS) and new platforms (like Facebook). Area/Code worked to develop next-generation game experiences not only for major consumer product groups like Nokia, Nike and Puma but for media giants such as MTV, Discovery Channel, CBS and Disney. Their Facebook game Parking Wars, commissioned by A&E Television to promote its show of the same name, served over 1 billion pages in 2008. The company was acquired by Zynga in 2011, becoming Zynga New York.

Kevin is currently advising and investing in several new startups including locative games, education analytics, luxury retailing, algorithmic sports analysis, visual search, and online video advertising. Kevin's thinking and ventures have been featured in major business publications such as the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Wired, Businessweek and Fast Company.

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