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What Is AI-chemy and Can It Be Done?

Andrew Harris 16 Jan 2019 2 minute read
What Is AI-chemy and Can It Be Done?

The term ‘Artificial Intelligence’, commonly abbreviated as AI, originated way back in 1956. AI became part of pop culture long before it found practical application in homes and businesses, thanks to modern computing power, storage and data availability.

Many startup companies are jumping on the AI bandwagon.  Some are claiming to turn data (which they have little or no understanding of) into gold nuggets of valuable insights.  Just like the alchemists who attempted to turn base metals into gold centuries ago, these companies are doing it in a modern, digital form — perhaps they too are practising ‘AI-chemy’!

AI-chemy or AIchemy infographic

Industries are trying to make use of big data with machine learning, sometimes internally, and sometimes outsourcing to external AI companies. In some cases, these AI companies simply request data and say they will be able to tell their customers what they want to know. One customer aptly described this opportunistic behaviour to me as ‘alchemistic’, which inspired the term ‘AI-chemy’.

Importantly, not all AI companies are practising AI-chemy. Trustworthy AI companies have coherent teams of machine learning specialists and data scientists who spend time with their customers’ subject matter experts to gain a solid understanding of their:

  • Business Needs – What problems need to be solved?  What are the expected improvements?
  • Data – What do the numbers mean?
  • Process – How does it work? How is the data generated?

Otherwise, an AI company which experiments with arbitrary numbers is fruitless at best — devious at worst.

There’s often an enormous knowledge gap between the customer’s world — the real world from which big data is derived, and the data scientist’s world — inside their ivory tower.  To bridge this gap, a trustworthy AI company must make a deliberate effort to enter and understand their customer’s world. This means visiting the customer’s mine site, processing plant, factory or office, and having meaningful discussions with their experts.  It is at this meeting of the minds, and often during a tour of the customer’s site, that opportunities are identified and real value is created.


In summary, an AI solution must be developed with a thorough understanding of the customer’s world.  Only then is it possible to turn data into gold.

At Consilium Technology, we have industry experts leading experienced teams of data scientists, machine learning specialists and software engineers, who are committed to meeting with customers and understanding their world.  Deep learning techniques are applied with a solid understanding of the customer’s needs, data and process, and AI algorithms are developed and wrapped in software solutions which integrate with existing software systems.

Want to find out how AI can unlock the full potential of your existing data?
Contact us today and we’ll help you discover how.