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Blog Posts by Tom Davenport

One of the definitional debates that bedevils the artificial intelligence (AI) field is whether machine learning is an AI-based method or technology. Or is it just an analytics-based activity? After all, it is statistical in nature, and attempts—as virtually analytical…
In my IIA post in May I wrote about the fact that automated machine learning (AML or, in deference to anti-money laundering, AutoML) has the potential to reduce demand for data scientists, and to make them less sexy in the…
One of my typical activities in May is to teach the Analytics Academy, a short program offered to Harvard Ph.D. students and graduates from the School of Arts and Sciences. The session is offered through the Office of Career Services…
CIOs can help drive business value by following the lead of high-performing companies that use advanced analytical techniques and data-driven insights to rise above their competitors.Data analytics has helped rewrite the rules of business competition, creating a growing number of…
Back in 2012 I wrote (with D.J. Patil, who went on to become the Chief Data Scientist in the White House) an article in Harvard Business Review called “Data Scientist.” Nobody remembers the title or much about the content of…
Machine learning is a great way to extract maximum predictive or categorization value from a large volume of structured data. The idea (at least for “supervised learning,” by far the most common type in business) is to train a model…
A few years ago a large insurance company decided to form a new data science group. The senior managers of the company were determined to find the best leader possible. Many were inclined to hire a prominent Ph.D. in finance…
One of the fastest-growing areas of artificial intelligence—at least if that term is defined broadly—is “robotic process automation,” a set of capabilities for the automation of digital tasks. RPA, as it is often called, has some valuable functions, but digital-centric…
In a previous piece I wrote about an MIT conference suggesting that fully autonomous vehicles are not just around the corner. In the short run, then, we’ll be riding in increasingly smart vehicles, but we humans will still be expected…