Magical Data Abilities We Wish Existed | Pecan AI

Magical Data Abilities We Wish Existed

From infinite storage to data X-ray vision: These 9 magical data capabilities might seem like make-believe, but they’re nearly reality.

In a nutshell:

  • Data analysis has a rich history akin to magic, evolving from abacuses to computers.
  • Companies are racing to collect and utilize data, seeking magical solutions to data challenges.
  • Our wish list of magical data abilities includes infinite data storage, universal data translation, self-cleaning data, data X-ray vision, and machine unlearning.
  • Real-world strategies like data categorization, AI-powered modeling, and automated data cleaning tools can make these wishes feel like magic.
  • Tools like Pecan's Predictive GenAI are bridging the gap between real and make-believe in the world of data analysis.

Data analysis, much like the fantastical arts, boasts a rich and fascinating history.

From the abacus (remember those?) to computers, it’s almost as if we’ve created actual magic in the data world. We evolved cumbersome mainframes to the sleek laptops of today, which democratized access to information. We’ve seen computational power skyrocket and witnessed the rise of statistical software, allowing us to not just count things but to truly understand nuanced relationships within our data.

Sure, it’s not magic, but it’s close to it.

Today, every company across industries, from CPGs to banks to video game companies, is in a race to collect data and harness its potential. It’s only natural to want to solve these data challenges with not just analytics that feel like magic but actual magic. 

Alas, Hogwarts remains a fantastical castle, and Mordor is a fictional land best left to Tolkien's pages. But that doesn't mean we can't dream of a world where a flick of the wand (or a keystroke) eliminates our data challenges. We should also take a moment to appreciate the incredible analytics tools at our disposal today — the closest things we have to real-life data wizardry.

Now, grab your favorite pointy hat and trusty data staff. We're about to embark on a tour of the most magical — and totally wished-for — data abilities a data whiz could ask for. Plus, we'll explore how these fantastical features are closer to reality than you might think.

So, whether you channel Gandalf's wisdom, Sabrina's sass, Hermione's brilliance, or even Voldemort's … well, determination, buckle up for this fantastical data-wish list!

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Our definitive wish list of magical data abilities

Infinite data storage

Ah, the allure of eternally scaling data storage. Every data analyst could benefit from a magical vault, ever-expanding to accommodate the never-ending increase of information. After all, unlike our CEOs and customers, who may believe in a bottomless data bucket, we, in the trenches, know the harsh realities of data storage. There's a ceiling to how much data we can physically store, and managing mountains of information is costly.

The reality: Data comes in various formats, ages, and levels of importance. But, without the proper organization and infrastructure, it can become overwhelming. Sifting through this data swamp to find relevant data is frustrating and time-consuming.

A real-world strategy that feels like magic: Data categorization techniques can differentiate between frequently used and mission-critical data and less crucial data to be archived. Additionally, data compression can significantly reduce storage needs without compromising information integrity. 

A universal data translator 

Effortlessly integrating information from every corner of the business is a dream —one where you have a single, unified view of all your data from every nook and cranny, seamlessly merging everything from marketing databases to customer relationship management systems. 

The reality: Data lives in countless systems, each with its own language and structure. Marketing might use HubSpot, Sales relies on Salesforce, and Finance still lives in Excel. This requires complex data-wrangling techniques and custom code.

A real-world strategy that feels like magic: Multimodal AI can understand and analyze text, images, audio, and video simultaneously to interpret data from diverse sources, drawing connections and insights that might be missed by traditional methods. Plus, analytics platforms can connect to all your cloud and on-prem data sources, helping you easily aggregate disparate data.

Self-cleaning, effortlessly pristine data 

Dirty data — yuck! Incomplete records, inconsistencies, and formatting errors are the bane of a data analyst’s existence. In fact, dirty data topped the list of concerns in a survey of over 16,000 data professionals. Wouldn't it be a dream if we could wave our hand and have self-cleaning data, magically maintaining a state of perpetual pristine perfection?

The reality: Data analysts spend a good amount of their time sifting through information, identifying and correcting errors, including missing values, typos, and inconsistent formats. It's important; however, it’s tedious and time-consuming.

A real-world strategy that feels like magic: Automated data cleaning tools, like those in Pecan’s platform, can identify and fix common errors and clean up your data, freeing up data workers’ time for more strategic tasks.

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Data X-ray vision

Superman's X-ray vision is the stuff of comics, allowing him to see through walls and into the very core of things. Imagine the ability to effortlessly uncover hidden trends, patterns, and insights hiding beneath the surface of complex datasets by simply looking at them.

The reality: Data scientists sift through mountains of data to uncover a few precious nuggets. Analysts can spend hours meticulously examining charts and graphs. Traditional data exploration techniques, like statistical analysis and visualization, are powerful tools, but even they can still miss insights.

A real-world strategy that feels like magic: AI and machine learning algorithms can act as powerful pattern-recognition engines. They can sift through massive datasets, identifying subtle trends, features, and relationships that data scientists might miss on the first pass.

Machine unlearning 

Ever trained a machine learning model only to discover that it was trained on bad data? Hopefully not, but if so, you understand the frustration. Wouldn't it be magical to have a "machine unlearning" tool that allows you to automatically erase the influence of biased or erroneous data?

The reality: Techniques for machine unlearning are actually in development, but they're in their early stages. And, something fascinating: LLMs like GPT-4 are even able to "pretend to unlearn."

Right now, the unfortunate reality is that models are only as good as the data they're trained on, and easy ways to bring about unlearning are still a ways off. Today, the process of fixing errors can be complex and time-consuming, often requiring retraining the entire model from scratch.

A real-world strategy that feels like magic: AI-powered modeling and iteration can enable data professionals to build and deploy powerful predictive models in a fraction of the time, then easily refine them as new data becomes available. With Pecan, you can easily generate SQL for a model, and then update your models with new information, ensuring your predictions remain accurate and relevant.

Built-in data governance

Data governance shouldn’t be an afterthought or a box to tick. What if the responsible deployment of AI and collection of data was an inherent property of the data itself? Imagine if every data point came pre-packaged with an ethical compass, ensuring automatic compliance with regulations and responsible AI practices. Ah, the dream.

The reality: Data analysts are tasked with navigating complex regulations from GDPR and CCPA to HIPAA, each with its own compliance requirements. Failure to follow these regulations can be costly and damaging to a company’s reputation. The burden of ensuring responsible AI often falls on data analysts, who must meticulously monitor data usage and implement safeguards against bias and discrimination.

A real-world strategy that feels like magic: Data governance frameworks are the best we have today. They establish clear guidelines and protocols for data collection, storage, usage, and disposal. Automation can also play a key role in documenting the origin of your data, restricting access to authorized personnel only, and anonymizing sensitive information.

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The perfect AI assistant

Science fiction bombards us with visions of super-intelligent AI companions — Samantha from "Her" or HAL 9000 from "2001: A Space Odyssey," which are capable of understanding and responding to any query, business or personal. (And, indeed, we're getting closer every day.) But while the idea of a human-like AI assistant might be intriguing, data analysts crave something more practical.

The reality: While increasingly helpful, real-life AI assistants often struggle with the fragmented nature of enterprise data. Data may live in siloed systems, which force analysts to spend a significant amount of time wrangling data before their AI assistant can even begin to understand the business problem.

A real-world strategy that feels like magic: Tools like Pecan's Predictive GenAI showcase the potential of AI assistants in data analysis. It goes beyond simple BI-oriented questions and brings AI guidance into predictive analytics. By using a natural language interface, users can ask questions about their data, isolate a business problem, and watch as AI recommends and builds machine learning models in minutes.

A data-rewind button

Unfortunately, undoing analytics isn’t as easy as Ctrl+Z. A "data rewind" feature that allows you to effortlessly roll back to any point in time would eliminate many sleepless nights (and tears) worrying about the consequences of undesirable changes or manual errors in data analysis.

The reality: Unlike editing a document, it’s not as easy to hit “undo” for data analysis. Incorrect transformations or deletions can corrupt entire datasets, potentially leading to flawed insights and misguided decisions.

A real-world strategy that feels like magic: While we may not have a magic data rewind button, version control systems can be applied to data analysis to track changes made to data over time, allowing you to revert to a previous version if necessary.

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Holographic data visualization

"Obi-Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope." (We hear you, data analysts — your hope is for a truly immersive and interactive data visualization experience.) The final item on our magical data ability wish list is complex datasets brought to life through holographic data visualization. Imagine being able to materialize your dashboards in physical space by simply willing it.

The reality: Analysts are confined to 2D screens with static charts and graphs that can only reveal so much. They could spend hours trying to find the "right" visualization to communicate their findings effectively.

A real-world strategy that feels like magic: We may not have holographic projections just yet, but there are advanced visualization techniques that are pushing the boundaries of data storytelling. Interactive dashboards allow users to explore data dynamically, filtering and manipulating information to uncover hidden insights. And, in the not-so-distant future, AR glasses could overlay holographic data visualizations onto the real world.  

Predictive GenAI that feels like magic

The magical abilities on our data wish list might seem like science fiction today, but AI is quickly bridging the gap between real and make-believe. With the brilliant data talent we have around the world and the continuous advancements in artificial intelligence and data management, some of these wishes may not be that far-fetched after all.

Are you ready to be a data wizard?

If you're eager to shape the exciting world of data analysis, we invite you to explore Pecan. Pecan is a low-code platform that enables data workers of any skill level to quickly clean data and build models with Predictive GenAI. Its ease of use helps data wizards produce real, reliable predictions using sophisticated techniques based on state-of-the-art data science and statistics.

With a free trial available, Pecan empowers you to start playing around with data and machine learning models, experiment with innovative techniques, and contribute to shaping the future of AI and data-driven decision-making.