When something happens, especially an adverse event, it’s human nature to try and figure out why. When people try to make sense of unfortunate events like financial troubles or illness, there are often factors like luck or superstition that are blamed. An unlucky black cat or “bad karma” are sometimes invoked. Other times, the cause of an event is readily determined because data is available to look at the circumstances surrounding it. More often than not, multiple factors cause events, and if there is no orderly data available, it’s difficult to assess the problem.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is often used to sort out complex problems and their causes, but when there isn’t enough information, what then? Researchers at the University of Johannesburg have released a study that for the first time demonstrates the use of AI to identify and rank multiple factors that could be the cause of real-world problems. It uses the concepts of Causal Influence and can be used to make sense of numerous factors involved in widespread difficulties in economics, public health and natural disasters where there are many factors at play, including superstition and luck.