Prevent disasters before they develop - a start-up from Vienna tries to look into the digital crystal ball. We show you what’s already reality!
Will it be reality for companies to have a look into the crystal ball?
However auspicious the thought of clairvoyant powers is, we humans have actually come to terms with their impossibility. But the digital development of the past ten years and the revolutionary research field of artificial intelligence, or machine learning, leaves the desire a place for new hope.
The Austrian company "Prewave" tries to predict catastrophes or risk events by structured evaluation and interpretation of records from social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or even news aggregators like Reddit. It provides these assessments to its customers as a form of insurance.
The Viennese company originated from a project of the "TU Wien". However, it now acts as a completely separate company. The algorithm-based AI examines the records for clusters of posts and entries, e.g. about congestion on highways, increased rainfall or accidents in companies, to then assess whether it is an isolated case or a trend, which then leads to a risk event.
The language in which the posts are written doesn’t matter: "The system can record information in a wide range of languages and learns permanently" (Wired, 2018). The promising company has already attracted banks, insurance companies and airlines as customers.
The Technology - The need for people to communicate as the company's raw material
The reality shows that a large number of people have a more or less pronounced need for communication and ,inter alia, live this out on social media platforms. "Riots in Indonesia, complaints about working conditions in China or strikes in major international ports. What happens in the real world is mostly reflected in online networks "(Futurezone, 2018), it says on" Futurezone.at " (translated by an employee). By means of the AI-based forecasts, the companies should therefore be able to hedge better against delivery bottlenecks or reputational damage at an early stage.
In addition, "Prewave" promises to help companies to make investment decisions and comply with sustainability standards through their extensive data analysis capabilities. "The start-up offers its customers a sustainability screening in which suppliers or investment projects are also reviewed for ten years retrospectively for environmental and social risks" (Futurezone, 2018), reports "Futurezone.at" concerning this matter.
And the data protection?
The company states, for the inside data protection, that customers only receive information about the entire data sets and analysis results; "Prewave" does not provide information on individual sources.