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The Need for Taxonomy Skills in the New World Of AI

Today, automatic categorization, automatic taxonomy construction, machine learning, and artificial intelligence are terms that might make a taxonomist concerned about his or her future career. In a panel discussion at Taxonomy Boot Camp 2018, moderated by Bob Kasenchak, director of business development, Access, the question of whether taxonomists should fear automation or embrace it was considered.  

Taxonomy Boot Camp 2018 is a part of a unique program of five co-located conferences that includes KMWorld 2018Enterprise Search & DiscoveryText Analytics Forum ’18, and Office 365 Symposium.

The issues of the importance of taxonomy construction and ongoing development as more processes are automated; the role of taxonomies and the taxonomist in a world of increasing automation; and strategies for making the case to the business for the continued need for taxonomies and taxonomist roles, were all considered in the wide-ranging discussion that included Joanne Claussen, program director, Content Enrichment, Technology Development & Operations, Thomson Reuters; Ahren E Lehnert, senior manager, Text Analytics Solutions, Synaptica LLC, USA;  and Suzanne Carroll, product director, Data Intelligence, XO Group (The Knot).

Subject matters experts are valuable to their organizations for far more than their classification skills and it is important that they don’t sell themselves short on their value, said Claussen. Machine learning systems are essentially trying to recreate what it is like to be a human, and it is important for subject matter experts to promote their own skills of taxonomy to the business and create more awareness of the benefits of those skills to the business.

Taxonomy roles are going to become more important because machine learning systems must have well tagged content in order to create useful models, noted Lehnert. In addition, he observed, corporate cultures are also expressed in taxonomies, and the role of taxonomist is the bridge between different groups of people with different domain expertise and skills.

The Knot started its data science team by hiring a taxonomoist to clean up the data, noted Carroll. If a company wants to create a fancy algorithm, then first it has to taxonomize, she emphasized, since well-classified data supports advanced learning techniques.

Many Taxonomy Boot Camp presentations have already been made available online at www.taxonomybootcamp.com/2018/Presentations.aspx and others will become available after the presentations are given.

KM World 2019 will be held November 5-7, 2019 at the JW Marriott in Washington, DC, with pre-conference workshops on November 4.

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