Big Data and artificial intelligence: two concepts that, just a matter of years ago, would have been considered a thing of fiction. Now, they’re everywhere.
Separately, they each have their utilities. Big Data is used in everything from predicting and responding to market trends, to analysing patterns in medical records in order to establish new treatments and cures for diseases. Meanwhile, AI is similarly diverse in its applications: self-driving cars, algorithms that recommend what to watch next on Netflix – even virtual assistants such as Siri.
Put the two of them together, then, and you get something even more powerful.
A symbiotic relationship
In a purely practical sense, AI is useful in tangent with Big Data due to the sheer volume of data. It can collate, interpret, and convert data much faster than any person ever could, making it an invaluable tool in the process of data analysis.
Umbel, which uses artificial intelligence to analyse varieties of data in order to help companies better understand their customers, explained how their platform functions so seamlessly: “Using data from multiple sources, AI can build a store of knowledge that will ultimately enable accurate predictions about you as a consumer that are based not just on what you buy, but on how much time you spend in a particular part of a site or store, what you look at while you’re there, what you do buy compared with what you don’t – and a host of other bits of data that AI can synthesize and add to, ultimately getting to know you and what you want very, very well.”
Just as AI is useful to Big Data, however, Big Data is useful to AI.
Given that it is still so young, artificial intelligence still has a long way to go if it ever wants to come close to replicating actual intelligence and be capable of machine learning. In order to ‘teach’ an AI, then, it must be fed data – and Big Data obviously provides huge quantities of that.
“AI will be used to extract meaning, determine better outcomes and enable faster decisions from massive big data sources,” writes James Canton, an expert in Big Data and AI. “This will shape the future of global business, prosperity and planetary development. In a world where there is big data everywhere, the extraction of meaning, the monetization of data for a purpose will be driven by AI.”
And, once AI becomes more capable thanks to Big Data, it can begin to have more practical, real-world applications.
“We’re starting to see people getting used to AI as an assistant, but now we’re moving toward AI as more of a manager, proactively helping with tasks,” said Dr. Michael Bjorn, the Head of ConsumerLab Research at Ericsson. “This can also be scary because of the notion of AI and robots taking jobs but much of that is perception. Technology creates jobs. If you go way back to the industrial revolution, we automated the easiest jobs and new jobs were created as a result. What we’re seeing with AI is that jobs will change across the whole scale, because going from AI assistants to AI managers is more complex.”
At present, the work that could be accomplished with Big Data and artificial intelligence is still at the dawn of its potential. As one fuels the other, there’s no telling where the technology will be in the imminent future.