Six Things Newsletter | March 16, 2021

In this week's Six Things, Paul Carroll discusses the new retronym "human employee." Plus, what future will we choose? Are solutions in tune with today's needs? Leaders rise from a year like no other; and more.

In this week's Six Things, Paul Carroll discusses the new retronym "human employee." Plus, What future will we choose? Are solutions in tune with today's needs? Leaders rise from a year like no other; and more.

An Odd ‘New’ Retronym

Paul Carroll, Editor-in-Chief of ITL

Retronyms have always intrigued me: those new formulations for long-used terms that arise because of some advance, usually related to technology. My beautiful old wristwatches are now “analog watches” because so many of you sport digital watches. A war used to be a war, but then the Cold War came along; now, when people shoot at each other, we call that a “hot war.” (A friend who consults with the military recently used the euphemism, “sending kinetic energy downrange,” which I love but somehow doubt will replace “hot war.”) A century ago, cars just had transmissions; now, those that require the driver to change gears are “manual transmissions.” And so on.

I’m now starting to see a lot of uses of a sort of retronym that I never expected: “human.”

The actual retronym is “human employee,” which is increasingly being used to distinguish those of us with flesh and blood from the artificial intelligences that are being employed in business settings. But the term almost always gets shortened to “human,” which makes the implication even starker: We’re at an interesting spot in our deployment of AI, maybe even at a tipping point.... continue reading >


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A Conversation on Corporate Strategy
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Join ITL's editor-in-chief Paul Carroll as he sits down to discuss corporate strategy with director, advisor, author and thought leader Amy Radin.

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March's Topic: Strategic Innovation

Strategy is what you don’t do.

That was the dictum of the late, great Mel Bergstein, who way back in 1994 founded the pioneering digital strategy firm Diamond Management & Technology Consultants. (It became part of PwC in 2010.) I heard Mel’s line a lot, as a partner with Diamond from 1996 through 2003, and I think his are words to live by in the insurance industry these days.

Everyone seems to have gotten the memo about the need to digitize insurance and to explore innovative ideas, but the present typically creates a real drag that slows movement toward the future.

Take Me There


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Insurance Thought Leadership

Insurance Thought Leadership (ITL) delivers engaging, informative articles from our global network of thought leaders and decision makers. Their insights are transforming the insurance and risk management marketplace through knowledge sharing, big ideas on a wide variety of topics, and lessons learned through real-life applications of innovative technology.

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