A Jakarta resident uses Corona Likelihood Metric (CLM) application on July 16, 2020. The app was introduced by the city government to allow residents to fill in their health data for monitoring. (B1 Photo/Joanito De Saojoao)

Rise of the Citizen Data Scientist: AI Analytics in a New Normal

BY :FABIO TIVITI

JULY 19, 2020

We have seen several new developments in Indonesia in recent months. The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc across the country, with the number of infections and deaths rising daily.

Jakarta has extended its transitional large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) for another two weeks until July 31. As the global economy is declining significantly due to the pandemic, Indonesia’s economic growth is likely to see a sharp correction.

However, there remains hope for the country to turn around the gloomy situation, and fast. The use of technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be critical to helping the country transition smoothly to the new normal.

This has been instrumental in helping to mitigate the crisis overseas, and a consortium set up by Indonesia’s Research and Technology Ministry and the Covid-19 Task Force is already actively exploring the use of AI and machine learning for faster detection and diagnosis of the disease.

In fact, Indonesia has been leading in AI adoption in Southeast Asia According to a study by IDC. AI adoption rate in Indonesia tops 24.6 percent, higher than that of Thailand (17.1 percent), Singapore (9.9 percent), and Malaysia (8.1 percent).

With the pandemic accelerating the adoption of smart technologies and data analytics across the globe, AI too will continue to be an area of growth for Indonesia, with its fertile and nascent digital infrastructure, the massive population of over 267 million and corresponding volumes of data being key drivers of growth.

In the post-pandemic era, we may even see the next wave of AI in the country: the rise of the citizen data scientist.

Changing of Hands

Over the years, rapid technological innovation has revolutionized the way the world interacts with and consumes technology. What was once siloed, relegated only to the likes of corporate IT departments, governments, and out of reach to the ordinary citizen has since been made commonplace. 

Today, we are no longer stranger to the pervasiveness of AI in our lives and are in fact exposed to massive amounts of data at our disposal each day. This, coupled with the accessibility of sophisticated new tools and techniques to leverage such data for insights, has led to a changing of hands in technology; now wielded by everyone from specialized data scientists and programmers to the every-man.

This capability stems largely from a new breed of AI that puts powerful, predictive analytics in the hands of the common user — business leaders, administrators, distributors, retailers and the like.

The new-found accessibility and understanding of technologies such as AI have enabled and empowered users to streamline business processes, and better address day-to-day need with strategic insight.

Furthermore, with user-intuitiveness and functionality assured via precise platforms, users can delve into the data they care about with an unprecedented array of automated analytics tools.

This makes it simpler and speedier for users to consume, digest and condense significant data sets into meaningful insights for their specific needs. More than meets the AI Consumers and businesses need to understand that AI can be used for more than automating simple processes.

In fact, the true genius of AI arises from its ability to perform machine learning and predictive analytics to a variety of practical and specific use cases, such as contact tracing or detection during a pandemic.

Over the course of tracking performance patterns, analyzing multiple influencing factors and learning the applicable human responses, AI has the potential to drive complex conclusions about a specific question, and thereafter provide the appropriate strategic advice.

For instance, tracking one’s monthly expenses can be made easier and simpler through predictive AI, in-built into apps that can log and identify patterns in spending habits, forecast future expenses and provide precise insight on expenditures one can save on.

AI technology is fully maximized when it can emulate and enhance human performance, offering advice that is reliable, intelligent and devoid of human bias or error. This predictive insight has proven especially critical in helping businesses anticipate, understand and prepare themselves for future trends, outcomes and uncertainties.

However, it also necessitates that users be engaged and specific in determining the parameters, objectives, priorities and conditions for the software.

Analytics in A New Normal

As Indonesia leverages AI to navigate a new normal, leaders and users need to be cognizant that the technology needs to be wielded in a manner that offers user intuitiveness and functionality.

Citizen data scientists thus arise when users understand current needs, determine their desired uses and outcomes, and can mitigate those with tailored solutions that are crafted at scale — essentially bringing deep tech a little closer to home, and demonstrating the versatility of AI in everyday life.

Algorithms also need to work seamlessly to minimize user input. Now more than ever before, technology needs to be streamlined to provide accessibility, efficiency and ease of use.

Users should be able to simply open their systems, drag and drop data, then count on receiving accurate, optimized results. Drawing on underlying data patterns to spot issues, opportunities or unknowns would simply not be feasible without non-automated analytics.

In short, making AI work harder and smarter enables us to go further. Organizations generate immense amounts of data each day that need to be critically filtered to formulate meaningful, practical applications.

Having simple analytic solutions thus frees up employees to focus on tasks that require human sensitivity and deliver the greatest value to the customer, like creating effective and productive solutions at different levels and functions across the organization.

Ultimately, AI analytics provides heightened functionality and performance that enterprises need to stay agile, innovative, productive and profitable, which are especially critical in these uncertain times.

With the right solution in place, organizations and governments can turn everyday users into citizen data scientists, enhancing their ability to work smarter, empowered by data.

Fabio Tiviti is the vice president of Asean at Infor, a global cloud software company. 

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