Data consumption is rising steadily in 2020 with estimates showing consumption of 1.7 megabytes of data per person. Companies face massive data amounts and this could overwhelm them without a well thought out data management strategy.

Enterprises should start with understanding their analytics goals, measuring governance standards and automation to manage the voluminous data amounts. This will enable them to derive value from their data through aggregation.

What is an AI Center of Excellence?

AI center of excellence takes a centralized approach to organizational operations and enables collaboration from the C-Suite while promoting best practices at all levels including employee relationships and research. By adopting the AI center of excellence, enterprises can concentrate on challenges facing them by making improvements through an iterative process.

Data visualization tools are becoming commonplace with enterprises adopting them to tell stories around their products or services. However, costs of data pose challenges to small businesses and the good news is that platforms such as Tableau offer low-cost solutions for visualization of data.

These and more insights on our Weekly AI Update

Data Aggregation in Organizations

What is the best approach to tackle data aggregation in your organization? A study conducted by Dell EMC in 2014 estimated that we would reach 1.7 megabytes of data produced for every person, every second in 2020. This is a daunting amount of data for companies to manage, let alone try to aggregate into a meaningful data report that can be used for analytics.

One data management challenge is ensuring that you are working with a “single version of the truth,” which enterprises can accomplish by normalizing and eliminating data. However, when you begin to aggregate data from disparate data sources, you also need a methodology for data aggregation¹.

Here are four best practices for data aggregation:

-Understand your company’s short- and long-term analytics objectives

-If you purchase data from outside partners, ensure that their governance and privacy standards are compatible with your own

-Determine how data will be stored and how users will access it

-Automate data integration as much as possible

AI Center of Excellence

Artificial intelligence is now mission-critical in most large organizations. Creating an AI Center of Excellence², helps centralize the process and keep the focus on the business. A Center of Excellence is a shared facility that provides leadership, best practices, research, support, and training for a focus area and are commonly used in healthcare to focus on specific problems.

They can be used in organizations for #artificialintelligence as well. What makes AI a strong candidate for a dedicated Center of Excellence, is its rapidly expanding role as mission-critical technology in enterprises. Companies are finding that people in many different business units — not just data science or IT — want to be involved with AI.

In some cases, people are bringing in their own AI tools and solutions, but there is a need to orchestrate this buying to avoid waste. In other cases, people are independently developing their own AI and AI budgets, so there is no assurance that accountability for total AI spend or deployment exists.

Together, these factors make a strong argument for an AI Center of Excellence. Such a center would include people from multiple business units, as well as from #datascience and IT. The goal would be to combine efforts, ideas, and budgets for an integrated and well-orchestrated approach to AI.

Data Visualization Tools

The Story feature in Tableau can be a useful data visualization tool when you are drilling down on a dataset from general to specific. As modern businesses generate more and more data, it has become increasingly more difficult to draw useful information out of the raw stream. Finding and communicating actionable information requires an effective set of tools designed specifically for that purpose.

Highly educated data scientists with training and experience in data visualization techniques are becoming more common in large enterprises, but small businesses do not have the resources to hire such experts. Inexpensive and accessible data visualization tools³ provided by vendors like Tableau Software are designed to help tell the story of your data without requiring you to have an advanced degree.

Education adjusting to COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged universities to fundamentally reexamine how their students learn, with #remotelearning creating a new frontier for their educators. Since in-person learning⁴ is not viable for every student, collaboration has become more important than ever. But the video meetings that have now taken over how people work and socialize. Consequently, this leads to the phenomenon known as “Zoom fatigue,” although it applies to every video conferencing platform.

That may foster a new trend on college campuses this fall: Turning spoken lectures into highly accurate lecture notes. Otter for Education AI speech technology aims to give both lecturers and students the ability to avoid Zoom call information overload, and more accurate notes to students if they miss a class.

Otter for Education is being used by over 100,000 students for remote learning and academic accessibility purposes, and can be used in a virtual, onsite or hybrid setting. The offering is available over Zoom and other online video lecturing platforms. The goal of Otter’s technology is to boost remote classroom collaboration between teachers and students.

AI-Powered Content Moderator

Website accessibility tech provider UserWay¹⁰ has released an AI-powered tool designed to help organizations ensure their websites are free from discriminatory, biased, and racially charged language. The tool, Content Moderator, flags content for review, and nothing is deleted or removed without approval from site administrators.

Customers are using its AI-powered accessibility widget, an advanced AI-based compliance-as-a-service (CaaS) technology that ensures brands provide an accessible digital experience that meets strict governmental and ADA regulations.

The goal of the Content Moderator isn’t to censor or silence, but to make web teams aware of problematic language in user-generated content or in content they may have overlooked. Before launching Content Moderator, UserWay ran its rule engine across more than 500,000 websites. The findings were concerning.

Many of these terms have only recently been understood to be divisive and prejudicial. It is an enormous task for most site owners to keep track of the latest consensus around culturally sensitive terms. The tool aims to make this task simple, centralized, and scalable.

Improvements on Natural Language Processing

Natural language processing is still being refined, but its popularity continues to rise with the release of the new GPT-3 language model⁶. This new version is likely to help. When you speak to a computer, whether on the phone, in a chat box, or in your living room, it understands you because of natural language processing. The computer voice can listen and respond accurately, thanks to artificial intelligence.

#Naturallanguageprocessing is the language used in AI voice questions and responses. The processing of language has improved multi-fold over the past few years, although there are still issues in creating and linking different elements of vocabulary and in understanding semantic and contextual relationships.

NLP has been a hit in automated call software and in human-staffed call centers because it can deliver both process automation and contextual assistance such as human sentiment analysis when a call center agent is working with a customer. NLP has also been used in HR employee recruitment to identify keywords in applications that trigger a close match between a job application and the requirements of an open position.

In our homes, we use NLP when we give a verbal command to Alexa to play some jazz. NLP is on nearly every organization’s IT road map as a technology that has the potential to add business value to a broad array of applications.

Automation Skills in Employment

There are 30 million unemployed Americans. A new Harris Poll commissioned found that two out of five workers say they were let go by their employer due to COVID-19. Additionally, 70% of current job seekers — those unemployed or employed and looking — believe the key to landing a new job is automation⁷.

The number is even higher (86%) among those with a college degree or higher. According to the survey, “The Job Seekers Report,” 30% have added automation to their resumes, while 31% said they planned to do so. With so many job-seekers adding to their skill set with the key word “automation,” the Zapier survey queried, “is it possible employers will notice the omission?”

It makes sense that many Americans are looking to develop new skills or hone-in on existing ones — they are competing with the 41% who lost jobs due to the pandemic, and those also unemployed, as well as those who have jobs but need to make a change.

A majority (83%) either have learned #automation skills or plan to do so in the near future. The need and desire for efficiency could be from the need to maximize crucial, available time. Work hours invariably come at the expense of those in the home who are remote-learning or those tasked with helping or even teaching those remote learners.

MIT ML Model for COVID-19 Vaccine

Researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have developed a new combinatorial #machinelearning system⁸ that could both decrease research time needed for a COVID-19 vaccine and make it more effective.

The platform, called OptiVax, focuses on developing peptide vaccines, which are a different approach from common whole virus, DNA, and RNA vaccines. Peptide vaccines are a relatively recent development in the vaccination game that are designed around one specific short amino acid string, called a peptide, that can be found in the target disease. Peptide vaccines use a synthetic version of the peptide that is created in a laboratory and not harvested from the disease itself.

Traditional vaccines have a larger amount of genetic information in them that is not useful in developing resistance and can lead to unwanted immune responses and dangerous reactions — it is these genetic elements that peptide vaccines are designed to eliminate. The peptides included in a peptide vaccine are, ideally, the most effective at building an immune response without unnecessary material, and are effective across a wider range of individuals.

HR Departments and Agile Methodology

Only 29% of employees say HR understands their needs, according to a Gartner survey, so using an #Agile strategy can improve organizational outcomes. Agile methodology⁹ is clearly popular: A Gartner survey (The Agile HR Function) of human resources leaders found that 63% of respondents report already using some variation of Agile methods and principles within the HR function.

However, 78% of HR leaders admitted to neither having a defined strategy nor being prepared; they do not have outcomes in place to guide how to use Agile strategies.

Across different industries, business leaders are consistently looking for new applications of Agile’s project management methodology and not just for its origins in software design, but as a tool to improve organizational outcomes. 74% of HR leaders said their organizations are “undergoing a broad ‘Agile transformation,’” and almost three-quarters are confident in the importance of implementing Agile in HR to help define priorities and meet goals. Agile, the report said, should be considered a collection of values that rapidly offer customers relevant products and support.

Works Cited

¹Data Aggregation, ²AI Center of Excellence, ³Data Visualization Tools, ⁴in-person learning, ⁵AI-powered Accessibility Widget, ⁶GPT-3 language model, ⁷Automation, ⁸Combinatorial Machine Learning System, ⁹Agile methodology

Companies Cited