Citibeats AI Detects Social Issues Faster than the Media

The post-COVID world is changing fast and is in constant fluctuation. Policies, regulations, social issues, and citizens’ needs seem to change from day to day. And while the media attempts to respond quickly to news to investigate and report issues, the reality is that they are not the fastest and most reliable source.

What decision-makers in the public sector need to acclimate to our “new normal” and build the most relevant policies is access to accurate information in real time so that leaders can proactively make decisions and stay ahead of new developments.

The answer here is the use of artificial intelligence to keep a real-time pulse on society and guide policy creation accordingly.

How AI offers the solution of speed, efficiency and reliability over the media

Artificial Intelligence, Natural Language Processing and the application of social data science do what human beings are unable to do – and that’s to analyze, extract and make sense of unstructured social data in real time and at scale. What this technology can do is make sense of text-based data – social media updates, tweets, forum posts – that are seemingly chaotic and erratic.

The true value of AI is that – beyond deciphering all of this data – it creates insights that actually provide direction and are actionable. And this data comes directly from citizens, making people’s voices count when it comes to the creation of public sector solutions, policies and new initiatives. 

Already, Citibeats has proven cases of how artificial intelligence has been able to report on important issues faster than the media. Here we’ll take a closer look at two regional case studies that have been completed since the emergence of COVID.


Citibeats AI Case #1: The hunger issue in Venezuela detected 11 days before the NY Times

In late April, the New York Times reported issues of hunger and famine due to the COVID-19 pandemic – most notably in Venezuela and Colombia. Citibeats, in fact, launched a signal on this issue 11 days earlier. 

The Citibeats AI-driven platform detected a spike in the social mentions about the subject on April 11th when the 30-day quarantine was announced. 11 days later another spike was detected, also coinciding with when the NY Times reported the story.

The advantage of artificial intelligence here is not only that it analyzes and extracts insights faster but it’s also in the valuable position of being able to recognize early signs that indicate famine in a geolocated way. 

As such, Citibeats detected that the hunger issue extends beyond Venezuela and Colombia. Growing numbers were also noted in other countries, like  Panama, Bolivia, Peru and Guatemala. Such a tool can help decision-makers anticipate what possible actions can be taken in areas showing signs of risk to help mitigate the problem.

Impact Report 2019

Impact report

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Citibeats AI Case #2: Citizens’ unrest over lack of payment in Spain detected 15 days before La Vanguardia

Another example is a story published in the leading Spanish newspaper,  La Vanguardia on May 14th, 2020. In it, the article reported that the main concern of Spain’s citizens regarding the COVID-19 pandemic was the absence of payment from ERTO, the Spanish government’s subsidy program. 

In fact, Citibeats detected the same issue in Spain of citizens’ concerns over lack of payment through ERTO 2 weeks prior to the publication of the La Vanguardia article.

Many of Citibeats’ clients rely on real-time social alerts to make faster, better-informed decisions especially during times of COVID-19 so that their communities can be protected and served in the most relevant way possible. Reliance on media is simply not enough given the volatility of the current global situation.  

As we collectively build and respond to the “new normal,” getting accurate information in real time will be critical to building social policies so that governments and institutions so can make decisions proactively and stay ahead of new developments.

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