AI, Winemaking, and Careers – Turning Big Data into Business Improvement

I listened to the Tech Tent podcast on 23rd July. Artificial Intelligence and winemaking was not the main feature of the broadcast; it was a tech update on the application of AI, featured towards the end of the programme. Rory Cellan-Jones discovered how AI is being used to harvest millions of data points, covering tens of thousands of chemical compounds in wines and their relationships with human taste buds. It then mapped this again with reviews and comments on wine tasting and preferences. The result? Predictive modelling on the likely success or otherwise of making a new wine. Whilst the risk of failure makes winemakers conservative in their experimentation for new products, they can now spend millions on making new wines with better certainty. AI has come along and provided accurate modelling that shows how popular this new wine would be and in which markets. Bingo. True research and knowledge-driven product development.

Now you may ask, what does this have to do with Working Eye and our Career Discovery Platform? Well – the answer is “a lot”. And here’s how:

Careers and A.I.

Career discovery – driven by the power of cognitive chat, AI and Machine Learning – is focussed on the individual. There is no prescriptive careers advice, but rather, a unique journey through career choices, job options and the world of work through true discovery. Ask and learn. Match your own unique desires and aspirations against the attributes of jobs that might be considered. Now that’s all well and good but how does it link back to winemaking?

Big data

It links it by offering the same outcome from the collection and correlation of “big data”. Career discovery through Working Eye will result in the accumulation of millions of data points that correlate personal aspirations to the world of work. This is important – hugely important – particularly in today’s environment where every sector of the economy is crying out for talent. Staff shortages and recruitment problems seem to be a feature of today’s society. How do employers attract and retain the talent they need? The answer could be that they need to stop thinking of the jobs they have on offer from an empirical point of view and think more about the aspirations of the people they are trying to reach. They need to think about the ways in which their brand, their product image, matches up to the opinions and sensitivities of today’s society.

Do things better

We are not the only people thinking in these terms. This month has seen the publication of The Hamilton Commission report. Co-chaired by Lewis Hamilton, the commission is investigating how to improve representation of Black people in UK motorsport. A comment in the commission’s report states:

“In the specially commissioned survey, in which almost 30% of those surveyed were from Black ethnic groups, there was a clear indication that many young people had little knowledge of careers in engineering.”

This is ratification of the pressing need for young people to be given broader, more relevant exposure to knowledge about careers and jobs. It also highlights the need for industry to better understand the true nature of the individuals they wish to attract into employment.

Do better things

Every application of AI and Machine Learning offers the opportunity to accrue big data and to put it to good elsewhere, somewhere other than the primary intended use of the data. And so, this is the case with careers and jobs. The day-by-day use of the Working Eye Career Discovery Platform will accrue that very data needed by industry and employers. The data they need to inform their own recruitment programmes. The data they need to feed the growing number of associations between industry and education. To make them even more relevant. The data needed to morph education planning to better suit the needs of our whole economy. The very data we need to have a profound social impact on the way we understand careers, jobs and the future of work.

Clever people are using AI and big data to transform winemaking. Likewise, Working Eye will accrue the data required to rethink and transform the way society understands careers.