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Made Dizzy By COVID-19 Data? Artificial Intelligence Helps Clear Things Up.

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Made Dizzy By COVID-19 Data? Artificial Intelligence Helps Clear Things Up.

As governors begin to make decisions about reopening the economy, Americans are left to wonder whether they should follow their state government’s lead – or make their own decisions about when to return to normal.

One problem for the average person: How to decipher the multitudes of data about COVID-19 and evaluate whether the country or any particular state is – or is not – flattening the curve.

“It’s easy to find tons of data online with charts and graphs, but all those numbers can be overwhelming,” says Sharon Daniels, chief executive officer of Arria (www.arria.com), which specializes in a form of artificial intelligence known as Natural Language Generation (NLG). “You see a line on a graph, but what is it telling you?”

Daniels’ company is among those trying to simplify that complex chore for Americans, using artificial intelligence to transform that raw data into an easy-to-understand narrative. To this end, Arria is involved with two online initiatives – the COVID-19 Live Report and the COVID-19 U.S. Tracking Report – that give Americans access to NLG as they try to grasp all the information coming their way from scientists, government officials, and the media.

Each of these free dashboards allows anyone – from government leaders to journalists to citizens – to review up-to-date COVID-19 data, along with critical insights transformed into writing by Arria’s Natural Language Generation software. The software uses language analytics and computational linguistics to “think” like a writer, pulling the most important information to the top of the narrative, providing critical insights, and giving meaning to the tabulated reports and visualizations.

Just as an example, a resident of Pulaski County, KY, who checked in on April 23 would have learned that in their community the previous day “there were 2 new cases and no deaths reported. During the past 7 days, cases have increased by 7, which means the seven-day rolling average for cases is 1.”

No human wrote those sentences. They were penned automatically by the NLG software.

As Arria and others do their part to help Americans work their way through the sea of information, there is evidence that such assistance is both needed and wanted:

Gallup poll shows lots of confusion about the state of the virus in the U.S., with Americans reaching no consensus on how they think things now stand; 41 percent say the situation is getting better, 39 percent say it is getting worse, and 20 percent say it is staying the same.

A 2017 study of the U.S. public’s understanding of the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa found that most people are good at assessing risk when information is communicated accurately and effectively. That study also found that Americans want accurate and honest information, even if that information might worry people.

Knowing the facts is one way people can reduce their stress level during the pandemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control. “When you share accurate information about COVID-19,” the CDC reports, “you can help make people feel less stressed.”

“The sheer flood of data and information we are seeing daily about the pandemic is nearly impossible to process without the help of technology,” Daniels says. “People want information that will help them understand what’s happening, particularly in the areas where they live. But if that information is too confusing and complicated, they are going to remain confused and scared – wondering what to do, how to help, or how to keep their families safe.”

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Sharon Daniels is the chief executive officer of Arria (www.arria.com), which specializes in a form of artificial intelligence known as Natural Language Generation. Daniels’ entrepreneurial career in building and expanding technology startups began in 1984 and has now spanned more than three decades of technology evolution. Her previous experience includes serving as founding executive director of Diligent Corp., a technology company that grew to become a member of the S&P/NZX 50 composite index before being acquired by Insight Venture Partners for $624 million.

Report: Ice Cream Market in the USA – Key Insights

IndexBox has just published a new report, the U.S. Ice Cream And Frozen Dessert Market. Analysis And Forecast to 2025. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

The revenue of the ice cream market in the U.S. amounted to $8.1B in 2018, leveling off at the previous year. This figure reflects the total revenues of producers and importers (excluding logistics costs, retail marketing costs, and retailers’ margins, which will be included in the final consumer price). In general, ice cream consumption continues to indicate a relatively flat trend pattern.

The growth pace was the most rapid in 2014, with an increase of 2.6% y-o-y. Over the period under review, the ice cream market reached its maximum level in 2018, and is expected to retain its growth in the immediate term.

In 2018, per capita ice cream consumption in the U.S. was estimated at 10 kg per person. Over the analyzed period, per capita consumption ranged in the interval from 10 kg per person in 2013 to 11 kg per person in 2008. In value terms, per capita ice cream consumption in the U.S. showed mixed trend pattern, finally falling from $26 in 2008 to $25 in 2018.

Ice Cream Production in the USA

In value terms, ice cream production totaled $8.2B in 2018. Overall, ice cream production continues to indicate a relatively flat trend pattern. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in 2014, when the the output figure increased by 2.8% y-o-y.

Ice Cream Exports
Exports from the USA

In 2018, ice cream exports from the U.S. amounted to 75K tonnes, surging by 10% against the previous year. In general, ice cream exports continue to indicate a strong increase.

In value terms, ice cream exports stood at $249M (IndexBox estimates) in 2018.

Exports by Country

Mexico (18K tonnes) was the main destination for ice cream exports from the U.S., accounting for a 24% share of total exports. Moreover, ice cream exports to Mexico exceeded the volume sent to the second major destination, Australia (7.1K tonnes), threefold. The third position in this ranking was occupied by Canada (6.7K tonnes), with a 8.9% share.

From 2008 to 2018, the average annual rate of growth in terms of volume to Mexico stood at +2.5%. Exports to the other major destinations recorded the following average annual rates of exports growth: Australia (+40.5% per year) and Canada (+6.2% per year).

In value terms, Mexico ($52M), Australia ($26M) and Saudi Arabia ($23M) were the largest markets for ice cream exported from the U.S. worldwide, together comprising 41% of total exports. Canada, the UK, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, South Korea, Bahamas and China lagged somewhat behind, together accounting for a further 34%.

Export Prices by Country

In 2018, the average ice cream export price amounted to $3.3 per kg, growing by 7.2% against the previous year. Over the last decade, it increased at an average annual rate of +3.8%.

Export prices varied noticeably by the country of origin; the country with the highest export price was the UK ($4.3 per kg), while the average price for exports to Mexico ($2.8 per kg) was amongst the lowest.

From 2008 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of export prices was recorded for supplies to the United Arab Emirates (+6.4% per year), while the export prices for the other major destinations experienced more modest paces of growth.

Ice Cream Imports
Imports into the USA

Ice cream imports into the U.S. amounted to 29K tonnes in 2018, increasing by 13% against the previous year. The total import volume increased at an average annual rate of +4.4% from 2008 to 2018; however, the trend pattern indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded over the period under review. In value terms, ice cream imports stood at $86M (IndexBox estimates) in 2018.

Over the period under review, imports of ice cream in the U.S. were negligibly small compared to the production volumes. Therefore, the share of imports in the total market was practically nonexistent, both in volume and in value terms. This situation has remained constant over the period under review, which means that domestic producers entirely meet the domestic demand for ice cream.

Imports by Country

In 2018, Mexico (9.8K tonnes) constituted the largest ice cream supplier to the U.S., accounting for a 34% share of total imports. Moreover, ice cream imports from Mexico exceeded the figures recorded by the second largest supplier, Canada (2.8K tonnes), threefold. South Korea (2.6K tonnes) ranked third in terms of total imports with a 9% share.

From 2008 to 2018, the average annual growth rate of volume from Mexico totaled +14.3%. The remaining supplying countries recorded the following average annual rates of imports growth: Canada (-10.4% per year) and South Korea (+6.6% per year).

In value terms, Thailand ($13M), Italy ($9M) and South Korea ($7.7M) were the largest ice cream suppliers to the U.S., with a combined 35% share of total imports. These countries were followed by Canada, Hungary, South Africa, Germany, Australia, Mexico, France, Israel and India, which together accounted for a further 52%.

Import Prices by Country

The average ice cream import price stood at $3 per kg in 2018, rising by 15% against the previous year. Over the last decade, it increased at an average annual rate of +3.5%.

Import prices varied noticeably by the country of origin; the country with the highest import price was Thailand ($7.6 per kg), while the price for Mexico ($344 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

From 2008 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of import prices was attained by Mexico (+11.1% per year), while the import prices for the other major suppliers experienced more modest paces of growth.

Companies Mentioned in the Report

Wells Enterprises, Ben & Jerry’s Homemade, Blue Bell Creameries, The Jel Sert Co, Friendly’s Ice Cream, Hershey Creamery Company, Fieldbrook Foods Corporation, Dianne’s Fine Dessert, Chobani Idaho, Baldwin Richardson Foods Company, Edy’s Grand Ice Cream, Graeter’s Manufacturing, Perry’s Ice Cream Company, House of Flavors, Talenti I, Hain Refrigerated Foods, Rocky Mountain Pies, Ice Cream Specialties, Shenandoah’s Pride, TLC-Lc, Blue Bell Creameries Usa, Ffc Holding Corporation and Subsidiaries, Vasari, WEI Sales

Source: IndexBox AI Platform