August 18, 2021
4 min read


Ever thought about how our cities operate so smoothly or how our Netflix and Spotify is so in tune with our desires? The answer is the hidden world of data and artificial intelligence (AI). We may not realise it, but we’re engaging with AI everyday - it’s no longer relegated to sci-fi. Data and AI are the invisible drivers behind much of the high-quality life we enjoy.

Three ways data & AI is improving our lives

Let’s look at how data and machine learning are impacting our lives, in areas of efficiency, well-being and even safety!

1.     Optimising train performance

No one likes delays, particularly public transport delays. How do you fix this? The UTS Data Science Institute, in collaboration with Sydney Trains, created a timetable robustness evaluation model using machine learning (check out the case study). This involved collating multiple data inputs like weather, engine type, station location & number of commuters from a single day’s timetable using a neural network. The result? Machine learning that has enabled our train operating system to meet performance metrics and pursue timely recovery from incidents. The next time your train runs on time (for once!) remember this wasn’t a happy accident. Behind the scenes was a lot of AI number-crunching.

2.     Health and well-being

Bushfires were big news in Australia in 2020. Local communities have been some of the hardest hit. Through data analysis at a local government level, the UTS Data Science Institute has come up with a visualisation system to measure the health and well-being of communities. By comparing time periods and using the Geographic Information System (GIS) platform for spatial display, this system has enabled the NSW Government to make evidence-based decisions ion real-world problems like rental hardships and remote access. This is an important and tangible way data is being used to support local communities!

3.     Safer seas for all

How do we create a safer experience in the seas for swimmers and sharks alike? This was the question that Westpac Little Ripper drones and UTS set out to solve with aerial surveillance. What was the solution? SharkSpotter drones are now running on autopilot to scan the seas and provide real-time footage for deep learning algorithms and image processing techniques. This live video feed is analysed to quickly identify sharks and their proximity to swimmers. Information can be shared immediately with emergency services and beach lifeguards, enabling faster and more informed decisions while improving safety for swimmers and marine life.

Data and AI have the power to make the world a better place. With a UTS Open short course or microcredential, you can upskill in AI and machine learning in as little as 10 weeks and create better future for yourself, and potentially the world!