The Actuaries Institute has named Chris Dolman the Actuary of the Year for 2022 for making a notable contribution to the community and bringing credit to the profession.
Dolman is considered among his peers as a lead actuary in data ethics who shares his knowledge widely through submissions and thought leadership and acts as a sounding board for complex issues.
Actuaries Institute president Annette King said Dolman has built solid relationships even beyond the actuarial community and is highly regarded by policymakers, regulators, academia, and other thought leaders.
“Chris has played a significant role in thought leadership and promotion of the actuarial profession in ethics, data analytics, and discrimination,” King said. “He is committed to good regulation to ensure that policy keeps pace with technology changes and meets the needs of society.”
Actuaries Institute chief executive Elayne Grace added: “Chris has had a long-term interest in the interplay between artificial intelligence, automation, and ethics in insurance. He works with complex datasets to provide insights into the intended and unintended consequences of the digital age.”
Dolman is the executive manager for data and algorithmic ethics at Insurance Australia Group (IAG), ensuring that modern decision-making algorithms and other advanced uses of data are designed and implemented ethically, responsibly, and thoughtfully.
Aside from working at IAG, Dolman is a research affiliate at ANU's Humanising Machine Intelligence group and a fellow who contributes to the not-for-profit Gradient Institute. He is also a founding member of the Actuaries Institute's Data Analytics Committee, chair of the Institute Working Group for the collaboration with the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), and a member of the General Insurance Practice Committee.
Previously, Dolman chaired the Actuaries Institute's Anti-Discrimination Working Group. In his current work with the AHRC, he produces guidance material on artificial intelligence (AI) and anti-discrimination in insurance to culminate in a significant joint Actuaries Institute/AHRC publication and clarify what is discriminatory and how actuaries and insurance must act.
Commenting on his award, Dolman said focusing on data and AI “appeals to the mathematician in me, but one with a social conscience. I like to look into how AI affects the world and what social norms we want to encode in the models we build.”
“There seem to be a lot of unresolved problems in the use of data – there are conflicting ideas of fairness put forward, and what constitutes good versus poor conduct is often still vague,” he added. “We have taken the opportunity as a society to build automated systems. With human beings, we do not necessarily have much control over their decisions, but with automated systems, we do. We can encode what we want into these systems, giving us the opportunity to improve outcomes if we can decide and agree on what we want.”