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Big Data and AI: How Do They Work Together?


Trinh Nguyen

Dec 05, 2023

Chances are you’ve heard of buzzwords like “big data,” “artificial intelligence,” and “machine learning” multiple times. They’re no longer a piece of fiction but rather commonplace around us. Yet, understanding how they converge to transform businesses remains a quest for many.

In this article, we’ll discuss the dynamic duo of big data and AI, from their definitions to their synergistic relationship, combined benefits, real-world applications, and challenges businesses face when adopting them.

Now, let us uncover one aspect at a time!

Overview of Big Data and AI

Big data and AI often go hand in hand, which might look similar for many people. But they’re distinct technologies that complement each other remarkably well and often lean on one another for optimal performance. Just think of big data as vast collections of (structured and unstructured) information, while AI serves as the tool to process and extract meaningful insights from this data.

What Is Big Data?

Big data refers to massive datasets that are too vast for manual analysis. It’s characterized by three main aspects known as the three Vs:

  • Volume: The amount of data collected.
  • Velocity: The rate at which data is received and acted upon.
  • Variety: The different forms of data collected, including unstructured and structured data sources.

Big data analytics proves crucial in gaining valuable insights from these datasets, unveiling patterns and trends applicable across various contexts. However, the real potential of big data only emerges when coupled with artificial intelligence tools. That’s when data scientists employ these tools to sift through huge data sets to reveal specific associations and predictions.

What Is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial intelligence is not a subset of big data but a whole different field that relies heavily on data to function effectively. It’s the technology that simulates human intelligence. Chances are, you interact with AI daily through major platforms like Amazon, Google, and Facebook or personal virtual assistants such as Siri, Alexa, and Bixby. Even the targeted recommendations you see on websites – whether products, videos, or articles – are outcomes of AI.

There are various subfields in AI, including AutoML, machine learning, deep learning, and natural language processing. AutoML and machine learning allow algorithms to learn and perform tasks autonomously without human involvement. Deep learning employs neural networks to determine patterns in large datasets, while cognitive computing replicates human brain functions to tackle complex problems. Additionally, natural language processing aids computers in comprehending and interpreting human language.

In essence, AI empowers data analysts to decode and interpret big data. Though separate, these technologies mutually depend on each other for their full efficacy and functionality.

How Big Data and AI Work Together

How Big Data and AI Work Together

First and foremost, big data serves as the foundation from which machine learning systems extract valuable insights. These systems evolve not through explicit instructions but by utilizing statistical models to analyze and interpret data patterns. These insights can help businesses improve their decision-making, business intelligence, and predictive analysis over time.

When big data and machine learning work together, remarkable outcomes emerge. Today’s cutting-edge big data approaches offer organizations robust methods to store, manage, process, and comprehend their data. Machine learning systems learn from that data and produce insights to help optimize business operations. Similarly, big data management practices enhance machine learning systems by providing high-quality and relevant data required for model development. In addition, successfully addressing the various facets of big data, known as the “Vs.”, will further refine machine learning models, making them even more accurate and potent.

According to the International Data Corporation, by 2025, global data will have grown by 61% to 175 zettabytes, and 75% of the world population will interact with data daily. The only way businesses may ever be able to make sense of these massive amounts of data they continue to store is with the assistance of machine learning. Machine learning thus becomes increasingly important to handling big data and vice versa, and companies that do not leverage machine learning will risk falling behind.

In essence, big data and artificial intelligence are closely intertwined. Artificial intelligence relies on big data as a fundamental input, and without it, there would be no substance to AI. Likewise, the abundance of raw data would be for nothing without artificial intelligence to process it.

Benefits of Using Big Data and AI Together

Benefits of Using Big Data and AI Together

Combining big data with AI reshapes conventional business practices, propelling organizations toward unprecedented productivity and success.

Enhanced AI-based Decision-Making

By merging big data with AI’s cognitive computing for sophisticated analytics, organizations can gain real-time insights, predictive analytics, and actionable suggestions across various domains like marketing, HR, and manufacturing. This facilitates:

  • Early problem detection
  • Crisis avoidance
  • Informed decision-making
  • Workflow optimization
  • Identification of market trends
  • Overall operational efficiency enhancement

Thanks to this data-driven approach, businesses of all shapes and sizes no longer rely solely on instincts or managerial expertise to carry out strategic initiatives.

Automation and Efficiency

What’s more, integrating AI into the Big Data industry ushers in a new era of automation and efficiency. Artificial intelligence systems help automate mundane tasks, freeing human resources for more important activities.

While AI doesn’t replace skilled human professionals, it empowers them to conduct more qualified calculations and research in less time. This liberation redirects energy towards high-value tasks, resulting in streamlined operations, reduced costs, and increased productivity.

Personalization in Marketing Offerings and Services

Big data and AI also pave the way for delivering personalized customer experiences. Through extensive customer-related data analysis, AI systems tailor products, services, and marketing messages to individual needs. This personalized approach not only enhances customer satisfaction but also improves response to offers and builds loyalty and long-term engagement.

This deeper understanding of customers’ unique preferences and requirements enables companies to create well-targeted marketing strategies, fostering profitable and lasting relationships and gaining a competitive edge in today’s customer-centric landscape.

6 Real-world Examples of Companies Adopting Big Data and AI

Examples of Companies Adopting Big Data and AI

The impact of Big Data and AI spans various industries. Below are noticeable real-life examples:

1. IBM’s Watson

As a primary example of AI adopters in the healthcare industry, IBM’s Watson employs natural language processing and machine learning to aid doctors in diagnosing complex illnesses and suggesting personalized treatments. This tech arms healthcare pros with vast medical knowledge, refines decisions, and improves patient outcomes while reducing errors.

2. Amazon

Retail giant Amazon has revolutionized the customer experience with AI algorithms. It utilizes AI-powered systems to deliver highly personalized product recommendations by scrutinizing customer data like purchase history, browsing behavior, and demographics. This customized touch enhances customer engagement, boosts sales, fosters long-term loyalty, and improves lead conversion.

3. Uber & Lyft

Ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft leverage AI algorithms for efficient passenger pickups, route optimization, traffic prediction, and driver behavior analysis. This integration thus enhances operational efficiency and elevates user experiences.

4. Netflix

Netflix makes use of machine learning algorithms to understand each user, delivering personalized recommendations. This approach keeps users engaged, prolongs platform usage, and boosts the overall customer experience.

5. Starbucks

Starbucks harnesses the power of big data, AI, and natural language processing to craft personalized emails based on customers’ past purchases. Unlike generic offers, Starbucks generates over 400,000 tailored weekly emails with varying promotions, utilizing its “digital flywheel” with AI-enabled capabilities.

6. Tesla & Ford

Ford and Tesla pioneer self-driving cars using AI “brains” educated through simulations and big data cloud platforms. These platforms use data from digitized maps and real-time vehicle sensors, propelling the development of autonomous driving technologies.

Challenges and Limitations of Big Data and AI

Challenges and Limitations of Big Data and AI 

However, adopting big data and AI comes with lots of barriers.

1. Ethical and Legal Implications

The convergence of big data and AI may introduce ethical concerns, highlighting data privacy, security, transparency, workplace ethics, and algorithmic biases. Each aspect requires vigilant attention and responsible practices to ensure fair and reliable outcomes.

Some national governments have imposed restrictions on cognitive computing due to scandals involving personal data processing, abuse of digital rights management, and concerns about societal resistance to technology.

A potential solution is Federated Learning, a decentralized method for training AI models across multiple devices or organizations without exposing sensitive data, which could effectively deal with privacy concerns.

2. Infrastructure and Scalability Issues

Successfully processing and analyzing massive datasets requires robust infrastructure, scalable computing resources, and efficient network capabilities, translating into significant investments and increased power consumption.

However, today, cloud infrastructure with artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities is becoming more cost-effective, enabling organizations to wisely manage data influx without onsite infrastructure and plan for future scalability needs.

3. Talent Shortage

Given the overwhelming demand in recent years, there remains a constant lack of skilled professionals in data science, AI, and Big Data analytics. Organizations grapple with the ongoing challenge of attracting, retaining, and upskilling individuals possessing the necessary expertise to work on these technologies, from designing to developing and configuring AI-based applications. Thus, outsourcing to skilled IT professionals experienced in Artificial Intelligence systems and Big Data analytics provides a viable solution.

4. Bias and Fairness

AI algorithms can inherit biases from their training data, potentially leading to unfair or discriminatory outcomes. However, overcoming bias and ensuring fairness in algorithmic decision-making poses critical challenges. In theory, companies might consider conducting diverse and representative data training, along with meticulous algorithm design, to prevent such issues.

Big Data and AI: Are They Really Different?

The fusion of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence creates a dynamic realm with exciting future possibilities. While this journey may seem daunting and overwhelming, these technologies are pivotal for businesses to stay competitive.

Recognizing numerous challenges companies might encounter while implementing big data and AI, Neurond AI offers various services, allowing you to deploy AI solutions and big data analysis at scale easily and successfully. By thoroughly understanding your business problems, we design the most suitable solutions.

So, are you ready to embark on this transformative journey? Contact us now!