Fractal Analytics buys Final Mile as AI, data science meld with behavioral science

Fractal Analytics' purchase of Final Mile illustrates how multiple disciplines are melding together to advance artificial intelligence, analytics and data science.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Fractal Analytics, a data science, analytics and artificial intelligence company, is acquiring Final Mile, which aims to apply behavioral science to understand and influence human behavior to solve big problems.

Terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but the big picture of how artificial intelligence, psychology and economics can blend together is worth noting. The upshot is disciplines such as cognitive neuroscience, behavioral economics, design, data science and engineering are going to comingle to advance artificial intelligence.

Indeed, the Fractal Analytics and Final Mile combination is another data point in the integration of disciplines trend. MIT recently launched an initiative collapsing various silos to develop artificial intelligence that will be more human-like.

MIT launches MIT IQ, aims to spur human, artificial intelligence breakthroughs, bolster collaboration | Death and data science: How machine learning can improve end-of-life care | A day in the data science life: Salesforce's Dr. Shrestha Basu Mallick | Data science notebooks get real: JupyterLab releases to users

Fractal Analysis has 1,200 employees and specializes in AI and analytics for large enterprises sees the social science value in Final Mile, which has worked on big issues such as HIV in Africa, train deaths in India and child trafficking. Final Mile bills itself as a behavioral architect.

According to Fractal Analytics CEO Srikanth Velamakanni the combination of data science and behavioral science can bolster client outcomes but also advance the human-machine interface going forward.

Here's an example of how Fractal Analytics thinks about a customer interaction.


Final Mile also looks at the customer journey but delves into much deeper issues and researching behavior. Final Mile, founded in 2008, is led by Biju Dominic, said about the merger:

Data and AI can dramatically improve our understanding of human behavior, inform better hypotheses, and complement our work with clients in achieving sustained behavior change.

Final Mile's approach revolves around economist Richard Thaler's nudge theory, which dictates that changes in a consumer's environment where they make choices can positively influence decision-making.

What is AI? Everything you need to know about Artificial Intelligence

The two companies had become partners in 2017. Fractal Analytics covers industries such as consumer packaged goods, financial services, healthcare, insurance, technology, media and retail. Final Mile also has financial services and insurance companies as clients. One Final Mile case study revolves around embedding integrity in an insurance company's employees.

Editorial standards