Your Personal Data Scientist, A.K.A Siri
By Aditi Bhat
Every group of friends has that one person, who, after a couple of drinks becomes a theoretical physicist/wannabe anthropologist/social commentator who asks a random hypothetical question, which sends everyone into a three-hour long spiral trying to answer that question. It usually starts with something mundane like talking about bananas and an hour later you’re trying to find the Buzzfeed video where they tied balloons to a banana till they were able to get it off the ground.
And it’s not just your group of friends - there’s even a book by the creators of xkcd.com called “What If?” that goes into complex scientific calculations to answer absurd hypothetical questions like “How many humans would a T-Rex rampaging through New York need to eat a day?”
However, getting to the point now, what if you could do those same calculations, or at least pull up some statistics to substantiate your argument, without needing to know query languages or statistical analysis? What if Siri could tell you about the average weight of different types of bananas around the world and run some numbers about this season’s banana harvest?
Siri to the rescue
Siri, right now, helps perform simple requests like defining words and setting alarms through natural language processing. She also learns more about you on the go through machine learning.
However, is that all Siri can do? It’s been seen before in the mobility industry that a lot of features and functions built for end-users slowly get absorbed into the enterprise when they become indispensable to users. Siri could be next on that list. When users become so attuned to asking Siri for help for all kinds of things, they will want to use her help at work also. The next step could be to ask Siri questions that you would normally spend a day reading about and analysing.
How will it work?
In essence, Siri could potentially take the same natural language processing and machine learning to convert questions into queries to pull data and give you an analysis of that data. Over time, Siri could learn about the types of questions you ask and offer additional insights, or pull up more accurate information that’s tailored to you. She could go from a personal assistant to an intern or business analyst and back again as needed.
If Siri’s technology becomes ubiquitous, i.e. goes from an application to a platform, enterprises could potentially give their users access to statistics and analytical data that can crunch numbers, generate reports, and share results without users having to do so much as touch a button.
For a world focused one-click solutions, Siri as a personal data analyst could potentially disrupt the data analysis industry, by revolutionizing the way people view and interact with data. The best of Siri is yet to come and data analysis interns better watch out for her!