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Big Data Artificial Intelligence

Star Trek…The Next Generation of Business Intelligence

on August 28, 2015

Our approach, and the approach that I believe is the next generation of business intelligence, is what I like to call the "Star Trek" approach. Even if you weren’t a fan of the show, you know the basic premise: a group of space travelers in the future operated on board a mega space ship, the Enterprise. The instruments on the Enterprise provided answers to questions that the crew already knew to ask, for example, "This planet is hospitable to human life.  You do not need a space suit to visit." And then the crew knew exactly what to do with the answers: mainly, to keep looking for life on other planets, which also helped fit the TV show into 60 minutes.

In other words, the "Star Trek" approach provides information, very similar to operational intelligence (the next generation beyond business intelligence). So for instance, the crew of the Enterprise would use the ships built-in “operational intelligence” to study the planets from a distance. The ship’s operational intelligence would provide percentages of gases that comprise the atmosphere, average temperatures, and percentages of minerals that comprise the planet's surface. Without sophisticated space age technology, an Enterprise crew member would then need to make his or her own determination based on a further analysis of this information whether a space suit is needed to visit the planet. This wouldn’t be a problem if they happened to have a trained scientist on board who knows what percentage of gases make for a hospitable environment and what percentages of minerals make for a hospitable walking surface, but they didn’t. Not that it is out of the realm of possibility that the Enterprises’ crew members were that sophisticated, but since the time it would take to analyze and correlate that data would take the show well beyond its 60 minute time limit. The TV show’s success depended on the ability to analyze that data automatically.

The point is that in 2014 the typical business intelligence approach is to only provide the data. The data then requires analysis in order to become information, or operational intelligence. Fortunately, technology similar to the one on Star Trek already exists, as automated analysis of data is what we do with Oversight Insights On Demand™.

Oversight will prevent you from having to have a data science astronaut onboard your own space ship. Less staffing overhead and sophisticated intelligence at the touch of a button is sure to make even the most discerning Enterprise captain (Shatner or Stewart?) happy.

Chris Rossie

Chris Rossie is a blog contributor for Oversight.