From Brexit to Trump: How organizations can use data to prepare for and respond to political events
Politics and data do mix, apparently, so we try to count the ways.
As the Big Data London event coincided with a new development in the Brexit story, back-stage discussions could not possibly have remained unaffected. In some cases they even took to the center stage, going as far as panelist Kim Nilsson from Pivigo who has been quoted to say that “if we have a hard Brexit, the data industry is going to die“.
The newly elected US president has drawn parallels between himself and the Brexit movement, so even though comparing leaving a federated union of nations and changing head of state is like comparing apple pie to Marmite, looking at what organizations can do using data to cope with political change may be of relevance.
Predictions are hard, especially about the future. Even more so when trying to predict something as volatile and intangible as political sentiment on a massive, real-world scale. People have notoriously tried to use technology for this purpose and failed, and even if everyone was either listed on the telephone guide or on social media and willing to truthfully express their intentions, which they are not, technology has its limitations.
Natural Language Processing (NLP), the part of AI that tries to interpret language, may be able to identify clearly articulated commands as showcased by personal assistants like Siri and Google Assistant. But going from that to identifying expressions and arguments that range from the ludicrous to the elaborate and may feature sarcasm, cultural references, elliptic and erroneous use of language is a challenge nobody can claim to be up to at the moment.