Canadian Underwriter

Milestones in AI

February 27, 2018   by Compiled by Jackie Rosen

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Canadians can now use voice commands to hear the news, get weather updates and play music, thanks to the recent launches of Amazon Alexa and Google Home.

Interestingly, the Canadian insurance industry has already entered the smart home space, with Aviva launching a skill on Amazon Alexa and insurance marketplace Kanetix offering car insurance quotes through Google Home.

In light of this (and before you can say “OK Google”), we thought we’d take a look at some of the biggest AI milestones from the last 50 years.


The very first chatbot hit the scene in 1966 and was able to mimic human conversation with pre-programmed responses. These days, chatbots are used by insurers and brokers alike.


The autonomous robot vacuum cleaner loved by humans—and felines—was first introduced in 2002 by iRobot. Roombas now have the ability to create navigational maps of homes through the use of their cameras, sensors and software.


One of the first autonomous vehicles from 1986 could reach speeds of just over 30 km/h. It was fitted with an early version of LIDAR—light detection and ranging—for navigation. We’re now seeing driverless cars carrying passengers in Boston, and delivering pizzas in Michigan.


Developed by a startup of the same name, Siri was created as a standalone app in 2010 before being acquired by Apple. Since then, it has been joined by Google Assistant, Microsoft’s Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa—among others—on the virtual assistant playing field.

Sources:,,, Technology Review,, Huffington Post

Copyright © 2018 Transcontinental Media G.P. This article first appeared in the January/February edition of Canadian Insurance Top Broker magazine

This story was originally published by Canadian Insurance Top Broker.