According to Forrester Research, 54% of global information workers are interrupted from their work a few times or more per month to spend time looking for or trying to get access to information, insights, and answers.* Depending upon how quickly they can find what they need, there could be a lot of lost productivity! For many of us, information search is like finding the needle in a haystack. Why? Context. A recent Reader’s Digest article illustrates just how important context is by pointing out that the three letter word – run- alone has 645 meanings! A simple sentence like – Jim will run the office on Friday so Jane can run the marathon – is a great example. Just imagine finding the answer to the question – who will run on Friday? To make things even more interesting, think about acronyms where D.O.B. could mean ‘Data of Birth’ or ‘Difficulty of Breathing’ in healthcare. How about SOC? Is it ‘System of Care’ in healthcare or ‘Security Operating Center’ in security?
Obviously, understanding the context is key. But, how do we do that in the face of massive amounts of data? When it comes to processing text, we have the traditional linguistic approaches where we need predefined rules and dictionaries, which must be kept up-to-date. These methods are effective in very narrow domain-specific applications, but tend to fall short in more general uses where rules are increasingly rendered irrelevant (e.g. social media). To combat that, Artificial Intelligence (AI) with its machine learning capabilities, can enable the forming of a model, which continuously learns from the data and improves its ability to understand. As new words appear, or existing words assume new meanings, these changes are captured and learned. This process is similar to what we, human beings, do where we can learn the meanings of a word through its context by seeing it used in different situations.
Going back to the previous example of asking the question - who will run on Friday? – a machine learning platform can learn from previous inquiries and answers that the question is more closely related to the sport of running. In the age of big data, where data volume, variety and velocity present unprecedented opportunities and challenges, it’s not about how much you know, it’s about how fast you get the information you truly need. The AI approach is critical in bringing context to our quest for knowledge so we can stay ahead competitively. To find out more about how AI is changing search and knowledge discovery, access The Forrester Wave™: Cognitive Search And Knowledge Discovery Solutions, Q2 2017, Cognitive Search Is Delivering The AI Version Of Enterprise Search.
*Global Business Technographics® Devices And Security Workforce Survey, 2016: Overview, Forrester Research, Inc., March 3, 2017.
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