Investment researchers use natural language processing to analyse large amounts of data to improve value to stakeholders

Artificial intelligence has transformed impact analysis and reporting. AI-based applications enable analysts to:

  • collect, clean and process large amounts of financial, ESG and other data using automated programmes and algorithms, thereby freeing up human resources to conduct more nuanced tasks

With extensive datasets available and massive computing power, there are also misconceptions relating to what values are relevant for impact…


Data can be powerful in changing negative stories that inhibit society’s progress … here’s how to take control of your narrative

I often use narrative therapy when I train teams in impactful data storytelling. It involves re-storying existing negative stereotypes and unhelpful narratives using data in a way that is strategic, honest, healing and transformative.

‘Narrative therapy is a form of counselling that views people as separate from their problems. This allows them to get some distance from the issue, … feel more empowered to make changes in their thought patterns and behaviour, and rewrite their life story for a future that reflects who they are, what they are capable of, and what their purpose is, separate from their problems.’ …


3 ways in which AI is being used to measure biodiversity loss and help conservation efforts towards restoration and rehabilitation

SDGs linked to conservation and biodiversity (Photos © Sayuri Moodliar)

A few decades ago, a small community of scientists and students would measure biodiversity by demarcating a representative plot of land in a sensitive or vulnerable area, counting the number and abundance of species, and using statistical methods to extrapolate conclusions and predictions from the data. This worked well enough at a local or regional level.

Since then, the food and resource needs of a constantly increasing human population has led to widespread land degradation and deforestation, decimating our planet’s biodiversity at an unprecedented global scale. The entire ecosystem on earth has become vulnerable and at risk.

The United Nations…


Technological advances enable robots and drones to pollinate plants — but what does this mean for insect biodiversity?

Honeybee with pollen on Aloe arborescens flower

Insects, birds and even mammals help to pollinate plants, but their populations are declining rapidly. This has been attributed to various factors, including intensive farming practices, the use of agrochemicals, an increase in pests and pathogens, habitat loss and degradation, and higher temperatures associated with climate change.

Bees are the most common pollinators, and the annual rate of loss of bee colonies is estimated to have risen to as much as 40%.

Pollination is a critical element in agricultural production, with over 75% of the main global crop types requiring animal pollination.

What are the alternatives?

There are several innovative alternatives that farmers and…


How distributed ledger technology helps the UN to provide quicker and safer options for refugees to obtain food

Earlier this month, the World Food Programme (WFP) of the United Nations was awarded the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize for its work in fighting hunger and improving conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas. One of the ways that the WFP provides aid for refugees is to enable them to buy food at local grocery stores using blockchain technology.

Overcoming the challenges of providing food aid

Organizations providing food assistance for refugees have faced several difficulties. To give recipients a choice of food or grocery items (rather than uniform food parcels), cash or vouchers need to be distributed — but there are often long queues for collection. Where…


Concerned about ethics? Ask yourself these questions when using consumer data to drive online purchases and views

Should businesses take ethics into account when making online recommendations? (Photo © Sayuri Moodliar)

Take one worldwide pandemic, add social distancing and economic lockdown with restrictions on schools, restaurants, nightclubs and movies … and it seems inevitable that online activity and e-commerce transactions will increase drastically.

Sounds like the perfect time for businesses to take advantage of people’s boredom, insecurities, fears, or addictions … Right? Wrong!!!

At a time when the world is being rocked by economic uncertainty and a fight for physical and emotional survival, it is not appropriate to be encouraging unbridled spending, driving addictive consumer behaviour, or reinforcing stereotypes based on biases and prejudices.

Ethical content … whose responsibility is it?

Behaving in an ethical manner is part…


Can the psychology behind recommendation engines and online purchases help us to build better models?

What is the purpose of online recommendations? (Image © Sayuri Moodliar)

Recommendations while browsing or shopping on the Internet or using a mobile application have become so commonplace these days that many people don’t even give them a second thought.

Despite knowing how recommendation algorithms work, I often find myself asking, ‘What were they thinking?’ And I am sure that many other users are occasionally confused, irritated or even suspicious when some recommendations pop up on their screens.

Is the purpose of recommendation systems to help the user navigate an infinite amount of information, or is it to convert views to purchases, reads or subscriptions?

1. Technically speaking …

Most online and mobile apps and…


3 lessons learned from creating chatbots for enhanced customer experience

A bot has become somewhat of a mythical creature. In the early days of computing, we knew a robot when we saw one. We expected it to be a shiny chunk of metal that made cute electronic noises and spoke in stilted quaint English –like the droids R2D2 or C3PO. We fantasised about a future where robots would take over all the unpleasant tasks we didn’t like doing.

In the modern world, bots don’t always look or sound like twentieth century sci-fi movies. Not only do they predictably carry out routine and boring tasks that humans prefer to avoid, but…


Reflections on my evolution from international tax lawyer to environmental data scientist

My earliest recollection of any career aspiration was that I wanted to become a scientist and an explorer. In my six-year old mind, I fantasised about a Darwin-like odyssey, journeying into unknown places, and accumulating specimens and experiences that would collectively help me to uncover the secrets of life on earth. A year later, I went on my first camping trip in the mountains, and that was the beginning of a life-long adventure of discovery and awe of the natural environment.

You can guess what happened when I grew up. …


Greenwashing your corporate behaviour may turn your sustainability narrative into a horror story

“It was long past time for me to come to grips with the other elephant in the living room — the profit motive …. Billionaires, bankers, and corporations profit from it. [That is] the reason we’re not talking about [what] would be bad for business, especially the cancerous form of capitalism that rules the world — and now hiding under a cover of green.” — Jeff Gibb

Even if you think that Michael Moore’s ‘Planet of the Humans’ is an over-the-top way to gain publicity, the movie certainly has everyone talking about the very real problem of greenwashing.

Greenwashing may…

Sayuri Moodliar

Writer, explorer and lifelong learner

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