Hazy Promises of AI Data Magic

December 11, 2020

Forbes has posted an article that sounds full of promise, “How to Understand All of Your Data to Transform Your Business.” Unfortunately, the piece is full of logical flaws. We note that writer Daniel Fallmann’s company, Mindbreeze, is part of Fallsoft in Austria, and is Microsoft centric. When he speaks of “all” your data, he seems to be talking about the inclusion of unstructured data. That is the holy grail data management vendors have been chasing for years, with less success than once hoped. Fallmann states what is now the obvious:

“Almost everybody hates filling out forms. That’s why you write a note instead. You send an email or text. You record an audio message. You create a video. You communicate in an unstructured, humanized way. Unlike metadata in forms, which are structured, these other methods of communication are unstructured. Unstructured data lacks metadata, and semi-structured information has limited metadata. The real value of unstructured data like an email, for example, is in the body of that email. You and I can often make sense of an email and other semi-structured and unstructured information. However, for a company, and for search, understanding the essence of a message is not that easy. This is problematic because when you can’t get to the essence of a message, you miss out on opportunities. You find it difficult — if not impossible — to connect the dots of your enterprise data. As a result, a wealth of knowledge that already exists in your enterprise goes to waste. That’s a lot of waste considering that unstructured data represents more than 80% of enterprise data.”

All true. But being able to define the problem does not mean one has the solution. The piece goes on to assert that machine learning can be used to connect the dots between structured and unstructured data, to criticize mindless silo migrations, and to stress the value of removing outdated or incorrect data from one’s database. So far so good. But Fallmann’s generic claims that new technology is “changing everything” lack substance. He fails to provide any factual backup for his assertions about AI or any definition of knowledge management or content management systems.

Doesn’t this company license enterprise search?

Cynthia Murrell, December 11, 2020


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