Both Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are enjoying a meteoric rise in popularity. In the worlds of AI and ML, the spotlight often shines brightest on the latest algorithms, models, and implementations. However, while these advanced technologies and algorithms are undeniably impressive, they are only part of the AI/ML success story. An often overlooked, yet critical component of any successful AI/ML implementations is the quality, breadth, and trustworthiness of the underlying data used behind the scenes.
- The Importance of Data “Quality”
Data is the lifeblood of AI and ML. It is the raw material that fuels machine learning models, and the quality directly impacts performance. High-quality data leads to more accurate predictions, better decision-making capabilities, and more reliable AI and ML applications and models.
Consider a simple example: an AI model designed to predict customer churn. If the data fed into this model is outdated, incomplete, or full of errors, the model’s predictions will likely be off the mark. On the other hand, if AI/ML is trained on complete, accurate, and up-to-date data, it stands a much better chance of correctly identifying customers at risk of being lost.
- The Importance of Data “Breadth”
The breadth and depth of data elements available for AI and ML to train on plays a crucial role in enhancing the accuracy of the resulting model performance. Each data element or attribute provides a unique perspective or dimension that the model can learn from. The more diverse and comprehensive these elements are, the more nuanced and informed the model’s understanding becomes. This leads to more precise predictions and improved decision-making capabilities.
Building AI models on the full spectrum of available data elements, rather than just a smaller subset, is of paramount importance. The number of data elements exposed to AI models has a direct correlation with the accuracy and performance of the models. Exposing the model to a 100 attributes instead of just 5 will help overcome data “gaps” in data coverage and enable the model to capture intricate patterns, uncover hidden insights, and enhance its predictive capabilities. By embracing the full breadth of data elements, AI models can unlock their true potential, deliver more accurate and robust predictions, and excel across a wide range of applications and domains.
Organizations can improve their data breadth and mitigate their data gaps through data augmentation. Data augmentation is a process that involves increasing the amount and diversity of data associated with each record. An effective method of data augmentation is through vendor-provided data appends to supplement your existing, first-party data with additional, relevant data provided by external vendors. By augmenting the data in this way, organizations can ensure a more comprehensive and representative dataset for training AI and ML models, thereby improving their accuracy and reliability.
- The importance of “Trusted” Data
Alongside quality and breadth, trust in data is paramount. Trusted data is accurate, consistent, and reliable. It is data that businesses can confidently use to make decisions and that AI/ML models can use to learn and make predictions.
The risks of using untrusted data can be significant. As an example, developing and deploying an AI-powered recommendation system may pose risks if it is built on untrusted data. If the training data is biased or lacks diversity, the AI model may generate misleading recommendations that fail to engage a broader customer base. This can result in missed opportunities, decreased conversion rates, and potential damage to the brand’s reputation. Regular monitoring and auditing of the recommendation system, along with ensuring diverse and reliable data sources, are essential to mitigate these risks and improve the effectiveness and fairness of marketing campaigns.
Data governance plays a crucial role in ensuring data trustworthiness. It involves managing data availability, usability, integrity, and security to help organizations collect and maintain high-quality, trusted data.
- AI/ML success is predicated upon the Quality, Breadth and Trustworthiness of data
AI and ML technologies stand to benefit immensely from a rich and expansive set of high-quality, trusted data. These models learn patterns from the data they are trained on and leverage these insights to analyze recurring data presented to it to generate new strategies and predict outcomes. It is obvious that the quality, breadth, and trustworthiness of the training data directly influences the quality of the AI and ML outputs.
While the allure of advanced AI and ML algorithms is strong, organizations must not lose sight of the fundamental role that data plays in the success of these technologies. As AI and ML technologies evolve and their usage continues to advance, it is imperative that organizations shift some of their focus back to the basics: ensuring the data they use is of the highest quality, trusted and complete. Only then can the full potential of AI and ML be unlocked and leveraged to create products and insights that are truly reliable and effective.