Well, it’s the last time it will be known as Big Data Day since, well, everything is turning into big big big data. Hence forward, DataCon LA! This year’s theme aligns with much of the industry in Los Angeles: Media & Entertainment.
During the morning keynotes, Diego Saenz from Accenture spoke about how businesses will need to understand that AI is not an add-on to the architecture—it needs to be at the center. Once there is a data-centric architecture, then other aspects of the company's culture needs to follow. For example, start with data modeling and machine learning (ML), THEN go to your Salesforce app. Or in Agile development by changing the simple words of “user stories” to “data stories,” it can help the team better think about the data they want to get and analyze, then develop accordingly. This does not discount the need for a user-centric experience; however, it helps build for tomorrow’s users as well as today’s.
My two favorite sessions of the day were both on the ML track. First, Ebraheem Fontaine, the Director of Data Science at Edmunds, spoke about creating ways to better connect to customers. For dealers using the Edmunds’ Car Code tool, the goal was to better classify what customers were requesting via text messages. By utilizing topic modeling, they could begin to bucket topics and word groups so that messages would be sent to the appropriate team.
Meanwhile Miguel Campo, the SVP of Data Science & Analytics at 20th Century Fox, showed how their work is helping them make predictions on what and how customers will react to a movie. Their models already show recommendations on different ways to edit and test movie trailers, plus they recently used the model on the Hugh Jackman film “The Greatest Showman.”
The thing that struck me about this is how exciting it will be to create stories that the audience wants to embrace! In my years of writing, the consistent refrain from mentors and teachers is that you need to write your own story. Yet imagine if the ML editorial guidance pushes writers to having deeper engagement with an audience. And as such, the story is one that the audience feels more deeply for characters and more fulfilled by the experience. That there will more opportunity of moments for human understanding and learning about others and ourselves.
At the end of the day, that’s what’s most exciting about the world of data—this feedback loop we can have from it is an opportunity for greater aptitude to know who we are, what we want, and how we might become our best selves.