Demand for data scientists has arguably never been greater.
They can successfully predict the outcome of elections, quickly and accurately gauge shifts in public sentiment and their expertise is increasingly being called upon by major news organisations for stories.
And it seems we are merely scratching the surface in terms of what these data crunchers can achieve.
MRM spoke to Jonathan Sebire, co-founder and chief strategy officer at ethical data science firm Signify, to find out how to build a successful, transparent data analytics campaign and what the future holds for artificial intelligence and big data.
- Tell us a bit about Signify and the work you do.
We are an ethical data science company working in politics, corporate, brand and media. We provide strategic insight, ethical data frameworks and investigative intelligence.
- What impact can machine learning and data analytics have on a business?
Improve speed of analysis, improve genuine understanding of audiences (actual and potential) and improved intelligence for better strategic decisions (only if applied correctly).
- What are the three things businesses could/should consider if looking to use data analytics for a campaign?
Who, what, why? Who are you trying to talk to, what are you trying to communicate and why? Once you know that you can build what data you need and how it needs to be used. On the data side the two key things to understand are…
- What is my data’s inbuilt bias?
- Is my data clean?
- What trends do you see for AI and big data in the year ahead?
Learning to deal with advances in disinformation such as Deepfakes – the rise of provenance in data, regulatory consolidation and ethics. Ethics are the new sustainability. American clients used to laugh at GDPR but new California bills make EU regs look like a picnic. The standards for privacy and consent and ownership of data are moving so fast, the only way to protect yourself is to be inherently ethical.
- If you could give one piece of financial advice to a teenage version of yourself, what would it be?
Invest in Facebook (so you can influence their data ethics policy!)
- What three things would you do if you were head of the FCA?
- Stop viewing crypto as a “horizon issue”!
- Revamp financial promotion regulation, allowing companies to talk openly and honestly about what they do – it’s the only way to help population level education
- Fund compulsory financial education to 16 – with a focus on digital scams
- What is your biggest pet peeve, or makes you angry?
Doxing, viral conspiracy theories (anti-vaxxers), anonymised online abuse.
- Now, tell us a little about your life outside of work, do you have any hobbies?
Swimming, walking and collecting books…the more tech my professional life the more physical and tangible I need my personal.
- What is the one column or website that you read every day?
Politico – Jack Blanchard
- What would you do if you received a windfall of £10,000?
Fund a pilot study into potential of chat platforms on mental health provision in first response or… buy as much 2008 Champagne as possible.