Unprecedented times could lead to an upheaval of technologies and their priorities. Let us explore how the world is conversing about this in social media.
There is a lot of conversation on Twitter for example about technologies that are more needed than ever before as we come out of the current global crisis. By analyzing tweets since February (approach later below) a crowd wisdom picture (Figure 1) of what technologies do people see taking center stage emerges. The tag cloud and bar chart represent the same data in 2 visualizations for better reading and easier understanding.
Figure 1 (Top 25 only)
If AI/Artificial Intelligence was gaining traction people feel it would be an inflection point going forward. A big chunk of conversations is around that. Automation/ Robotics/ 3D printing etc get a lot of chatter due to “low touch” economy. So does crypto/ blockchain. There is a great focus on technologies to protect nature that make it green/ help in the climate crisis. In addition, people are speaking a lot about education tech, gaming & virtual reality which have seen upward usage trends in the lockdown period.
To validate this one could look at another source like Reddit for the same period. Figure 2 below shows the results.
Figure 2 (Top 25 only)
People are having exponentially higher conversations about AI than other technologies. Some patterns emerge between the two analyses… tech for addressing climate-change is on everyone’s mind and so is automation/ robotics. Here we also see conversations around healthcare (general + cancer, brain, etc) and space tech. In addition, there is chatter growing around “meat-eating”.
The analysis has covered >10000 users' views, 10s of 1000s of comments, and is unsolicited. This is a good unbiased and highly scaled view of what people see than market surveys.
Curious about the approach… Here are some pointers
Download data using APIs (Twitter, Reddit) for the last 2–3 months
Convert every tweet or comment into a vector using the “sentence embedding” machine learning technique. In simple terms this means we understand the meaning of every word in a sentence as a human would do
Basis this select sentences related to technologies by “vector distancing” to a technology space & cluster
Visualize the keywords in each cluster
The approach is repeatable for varied themes. For example… If masses are thinking this way what are the highly-priced strategy consulting firms thinking? Below (Figure 3) is what the biggest 15 global consulting firms think.
Figure 3 (Top 25 only)
Consultants agree with masses on AI and automation. They do use “digital” jargon for this. They do talk about sustainability but not as much as the masses are conversing. A lot of sectoral and supply chain technologies get more weightage like manufacturing, DigitalTwins, Agile, etc. They speak about customer experience tech. “Remote work” gets a lot of attention and so does concepts like a nextgen bank, fintech, etc. It reflects consulting firms thinking on behalf of masses as masses don’t seem to prioritize these and positioning to their clients. Cybersecurity in a digital world gets significant attention.
AI, automation & climate tech seem to be where the minds meet.
This crisis is expected to propel AI upwards… the possibility of using AI to make this point through this article should make that real.