Humans and machines ‘must work together’ with big data

When it comes to effectively analysing big data assets for actionable business intelligence, the ability for human employees to work closely with the latest technology will be essential.

This was one of the main topics up for discussion at the recent GigaOM Structure: Data conference, where practical questions about how much control humans should give to machines were on the agenda, as well as debates about what the future relationship between personnel such as data scientists and technology platforms will be, Smart Planet reports.

Attendees of the event agreed that one of the biggest advantages of using human eyes to oversee data compiled and analysed by machines is they are often able to spot potential problems earlier.

They are also usually better able to tell what metrics will provide the most useful insight to a business. For example, chief executive of financing firm Kabbage Robert Frohwein explained how his staff realised that UPS shipping information was a powerful predictive tool when it came to analyzing investments.

While big data analytics is able to help turn this into useful insight, it was a human inferring a possible connection that initially led to the value of the information being uncovered, which highlights the importance of having skilled staff with a clear understanding of their business and how it relates to the wider market.

“Throughout the event, a consensus emerged that when it comes to problem solving, people are particularly good at two things: constraining a data set to the context of a particular situation and generating new avenues of analytical exploration,” Smart Planet stated.

While people have the intuition and creativity, machines on the other hand are much better when it comes to analyzing large data sets at high speed, so successful companies will be the ones that can combine these assets into an effective solution for studying their information and identifying what are the most important areas to focus on.

“The combined powers of human and machine offer the best hope for dealing with the world's biggest challenges,” Smart Planet said, adding: “Big data can solve big problems, but only with the help of human insight.”