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Member Spotlight: Michael Kolawole, Digital Communications Analyst, G4S April 11, 2019

A shift is happening, predictive analytics combined with artificial intelligence is now our focus


When did you first notice the changes in advanced analytics & AI technology taking place?

My role is a brand new one for G4S and this in itself demonstrates a shift in terms of analytics focus. It’s clear to me that the team have always wanted to explore new ideas and ways to demonstrate and effect positive change for the future. Since I’ve been here there has been a lot of talk about AI technology and how that can be used to improve our ways of working in a multitude of areas.

 

How has the growth of these affected your job as a data analyst? 

The key thing I’ve noticed is that traditional ways of gathering and looking at data, which is more about looking at the past and what’s been done, has begun to shift. Current data trends, such as predictive analytics, look at the present and the future. Within our own work we are beginning to use AI much more in our tools. For example we’re working on a project to make our search more AI focused - exploring what users will look at next for instance. It’s more predictive, more hands on and more engaged with what the user is going to do - and our overall aim is to use it to improve customer engagement and experience.

It’s also all about timing -  knowing when is the right time for our business to adopt something, or not!

What do you think your role as a data analyst will look like in five years?

As a data analyst, I feel like we will be at the forefront of this change. The great thing about our role is that it is constantly evolving and changing, so I imagine the role will be quite different - at least in terms of the technology we are working with and the data types we are analysing. With things such as voice search and personalisation we won’t really see the fruits of this work for a good few years yet and by then it will be the norm.

It’s also all about timing -  knowing when is the right time for our business to adopt something, or not! It's not always the best thing to implement tech straightaway, so you need to know when the time or opportunity is right for you.

 

Rogue AI and killer robots - a genuine fear or a thing of Sci Fi?

I think its somewhere in between. It is a thing of sci-fi- but the genuine fear is understandable, particularly for people who are not in this space, or who are directly being influenced by the change negatively. Robots can definitely be a positive, especially for certain things, such as repetitive tasks that take a long time but technology always needs a human aspect to it. If you look at Tesla cars, for instance, they are powered by AI and smart machinery, but what has been noticed is that certain things just can’t be done as well as a human. Therefore, there will always be that balance, as we can’t simply expect technology to do all the work for us.

 

Could this be because the technology is young and simply not developed enough to handle more complex tasks?

It depends on the scale - if it's smaller perhaps yes, but on a larger scale I think humans will always be a part of the process. Even when it gets to the point of no bugs, it will still need humans to give us that human aspect - whether that is overseeing, producing or just connecting the dots – it will give us that balance between the two.

I’ve noticed, that being a part of a community where people experience the same challenges makes you realise that you are not alone. 

What is your favourite thing about being a part of the DLF community?

I’ve noticed, that being a part of a community where people experience the same challenges makes you realise that you are not alone. Everyone’s at different stages and you can sometimes feel like you are behind and need to be catching up. Then you come to the Forum and you look at impressive digital products or platforms, realising that they had the same journey, or are facing the problems you just solved. Some of what we’re working on has come directly from the conversations and talks from DLF- it’s about keeping up to speed, which the Forum really helps us do.

Thank you for being such a good community, since I’ve been with G4S – it’s always been something to look forward to and learn from!


Michael Kolawole, Digital Communications Analyst, G4S