Autonomy: ‘Analytics techniques now understand views & opinions’

Exploitation of the vast quantities of subjective data from social media sites and internet forums offers Whitehall decision-makers new opportunities to fine-tune policy based on public opinion, experts told a civil service seminar yesterday.

By Civil Service World

27 Jul 2012

Policy and computing professionals at a seminar hosted by CSW with IT company HP said advances in technology mean consumer attitudes can be tracked through the so-called ‘unstructured data’ held on servers around the world.

Until recently, analytics software wasn’t sophisticated enough to interpret this data, said Bill Saumarez, vice president of data analysis firm Autonomy. But now “we can process all data – structured and unstructured – and make sense of it. Pattern-matching technology recognises concepts and trends.”

Information from data extracted in this way can now be used as a form of ‘crowd sourcing’, giving policymakers greater insight into the public’s views on particular services. Data given “as a consumer or to government can be processed and used to make a difference,” said Karl Hampson of IT firm Realise.

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