What do cookies, cancer and data analysis have in common? Think about it. No clue? Okay, here’s your answer…

In 2013, a now-famous pastry shop in Japan with many different types of cookies noticed a growing problem. It had such long checkout queues which meant that it was taking the attendants too long to serve all the customers. 

To mitigate this problem, the bakery used artificial intelligence to train a model that would correctly identify a customer’s selection and also compute the total amount needed to be paid. This innovation caught the attention of a cancer researcher, who used the same technique to identify cancer cells and the process has greatly sped up the time taken to identify cancer. 

Importance of Data Analysis in Business

Data collection and analysis have been around for a very long time. Initially, advanced statistical methods were used to make sense of the data. Now that we have more processing power and more people collecting data, many algorithms have come up to make machines “learn” from the data.

Gone are the days when oil was considered to be liquid gold. Data now holds the mantle of being the most valuable commodity. Data has become so important that businesses cannot afford not to collect it.

Look at organizations such as Google and Facebook. Their services are all seemingly free but where do they make the money to fund the company, pay employees or offer free limited cloud storage for all users? They use this massive user-generated data to create profitable products and services.

These companies also use the data given by the user for targeted marketing campaigns. Still, marketing is just one of the many ways data is being used to make money. The reason why Google search is so dominant despite many search engines being in existence is that Google has so much data that they are able to optimize the search results. 

Google also has the first-mover’s advantage that many people have an email account with Gmail so the search queries are more fine-tuned as compared to search results on sites like Bing or DuckDuckGo.

Now you know: whenever a business offers you so many free services, then you (the customer) are usually the product. All this would not be possible without the help of data science, AI and machine learning.

What Exactly is Machine Learning?

One cannot talk about Data and Artificial Intelligence without the term machine learning coming up so frequently. So, what exactly do we mean by “machine learning?”

Remember when you were a child and you would see a grown-up do something that you would then copy? For example, children grow up seeing their parents cook, and over time they are able to learn how to cook. These children learn by seeing their parents follow a routine while cooking. That’s how machines are able to learn as well.

Show a computer thousands of dresses and it will be able to identify a dress it has never “seen”. However, if it’s only trained on dresses, it will not be able to identify a building. An example closer home is the Mara project. The project aims to use AI to identify poaching activities in the Maasai Mara game reserve. Intriguing, right?

It gets better. Companies like Amazon have reported increased sales since they started using recommender systems on their site. Making sense of data requires some specific type of skill. As James Clear put it “You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fail to the level of your systems.” Having a goal to make use of data would only be successful with the right skilled people and that’s where JENGA school comes in.

JENGA School Data Science Courses

JENGA School is a professional tech skills development institution that’s on a mission to bridge the tech skills gap in Africa by equipping you with the skills you need to become an innovation leader in the tech space and a top-tier candidate for those top jobs everyone secretly wants but doesn’t know how to. Check out our data science core course and data science foundations course for more information.

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