AI comes of age: How technology is helping decision makers

Time is a commodity the markets can’t bottle or control, and we all need more of it every day. Whether you’re saving time or getting better at how and when you use it, we all rely on it for success, profit, workload management and quality of life.

How would you like to watch six full hours of a congressional hearing? The most consistent and polite response: “Yeah, no thank you.” What if a tool could help you find and deliver the six minutes of relevant content from that same hearing?

Kristy McKnight is the general manager, Veritone Politics.
Kristy McKnight is the general manager of Veritone Politics.

For elected officials or public sector agencies, developing a handle on the news and issues that have an impact in a city, district or state, is a critical component of their success and effectiveness. The ability to find and respond faster and more effectively to news and issues aired on national, regional and local radio and television is today as essential as air.

In politics or crisis, speed and efficiency are key differences in getting out in front of a story and controlling the message and tone of whatever is being discussed. Anything less puts you in a defensive posture and makes going on the offensive that much more challenging.

Gartner has estimated that 80 percent of the global data produced is unstructured and not easily and efficiently searched, accessed or utilized. Unstructured data continues to grow at an accelerating rate and represents the vast majority of all data created, with 90 percent of the world’s data having been created in only the past two years. The total amount of digital data created worldwide, it is estimated, will grow roughly tenfold between 2013-2020.

Enterprise users, particularly across the government, are rapidly embracing the utility of leveraging this large and constant proliferation of data through the use of artificial intelligence to improve efficiency and increase capabilities. But many enterprise platforms lack the proper tools to collect and analyze the ever-growing variety, velocity and volume of data in near real-time.

What decision-makers and their employees need is artificial intelligence (AI)-as-a-service or a platform that allows them to distill the news and information they need to make decisions on a moment-by-moment basis. An ecosystem platform that provides dozens of processing engines to meet the growing need to know and process loads of information, in near real time.

As an AI-based platform learns, it becomes more efficient. This may be recognizing keywords, the names of elected officials, or able to transcribe speech more accurately — reducing the amount of time staff members must dedicate to reading, reviewing and correcting transcriptions. Campaigns, agencies and associations are beginning to focus on finding more data to monitor, rather than being selective on the news they track. This is a good thing.

In 2016, national, state and local campaigns and elected officials alike turned to our next-generation AI tools to help them understand what resonated and when, as they waded through oceans of data daily.

Some of the uses included:

  • Elected officials are immediately notified when their constituents or local radio hosts discuss them or important issues on local radio back home.
  • Committees can find footage from their own media archives (speeches, tracker videos, other recordings) in seconds, by searching for keywords, faces, objects, on-screen text, logos.
  • Campaigns hear competitive local radio ads to influence their own narrative.
  • Associations can monitor local and nationally syndicated radio, YouTube, podcasts and TV, using near real-time information to benefit members, increase awareness, or respond more quickly.

This past election saw AI being used in new and creative ways. Whether it is assisting with opposition research, tracking constituent sentiment in the district or transcribing what someone said during their latest stump speech, AI is being used and developed in new ways each day.

Is more data better?

The amount, volume and scale of data produced will only continue to increase. As the speed of information increases, it will be even more important for decision-makers to track, review and distribute key points. AI-based platforms can and should be a single-source solution to manage and address the problem of too much data too much of the time. A key principle of AI-based systems is that the more data ingested and processed, the better the accuracy and predictive value. This is essential given the sheer volume of information that is produced in the new media space daily.

As we approach the next election cycle, issue advocacy campaign, or crisis situation, AI tools available today will be even more valuable and necessary to help us stay informed, respond swiftly and keep our finger on the pulse 24 hours a day, every day — with less reading and listening and more time spent acting.

Read Federal News Radio’s special report, AI: The Reality in Your Office.


Kristy McKnight is the general manager of Veritone Politics. Veritone has developed a proprietary and innovative Cognitive Media Platform (CMP) that unlocks the power of artificial intelligence (AI)-based cognitive computing so that unstructured audio and video media can be processed, transformed and analyzed in a seamless, automated manner to generate timely actionable intelligence.