There’s something peculiar about people working in the field of artificial intelligence: they have a constant need to solve problems. This became somewhat undeniable when I caught myself wondering how AI could address a certain use case. It wasn’t for a Fortune 500 company, an NGO, or an industry. Instead, it was for a person who has one of the most high-pressure jobs in the world… Santa Claus.

Silly? Maybe. But when you think about it, the scope and scale of his workload makes him a perfect candidate for artificial intelligence adoption. He travels at speeds we can’t yet come close to matching, uses sophisticated reindeer and works in the coldest place on earth.

So Santa, if you’re listening, here’s a letter from the Stradigi AI team. We aren’t asking for any presents this year, instead we want to gift YOU with some AI awareness. You may have magic on your side, but we have a talented research team. So let’s combine the two and make next Christmas the very best yet.

Here are our unsolicited top 10 ways artificial intelligence could optimize your workload:

1) Translating Wishes

Before thinking about going into production, you need to read millions of letters from children all around the world. By using Natural Language Understanding (NLU) you could use named entity recognition to build your toy and delivery database. NLU would also be able to translate them from one language to another (we aren’t sure, but how many languages does your average elf speak?). This would allow your elves to focus on other important tasks, like drinking eggnog and eating gumdrops.

NLU Translation Christmas Wish List

2) Determining Naughty vs. Nice

A busy professional knows you should never leave anything up to chance. By using time series analysis, you’ll have the ability to make calculated decisions based on historical data. Crunching the information from your previous lists to develop an algorithm to help predict whether children have been good or bad based on preceding years will accelerate the naughty vs. nice decision-making process.

3) Optimizing Labour

On the off chance there are a few naughty kids this year, we also suggest implementing predictive maintenance related to your coal mine equipment in order to minimize costs associated with servicing the naughty list. It would also result in a reduction of workplace accidents, labour requirements and limit the amount of time elves spend in the mines. Also, in case it is an issue mining for coal in the North Pole (which is probably pretty difficult) you can also use AI to figure out where, when, how and what price to import it at.

4) Running Operations Smoothly

For the good boys and girls, we could use time series analysis once again, but this time to determine trends and market demands that would give elves insights into what toys will be most popular. This would enable them to get started long before the first letter arrives, and with very little surplus (or even worse yet – shortages!).

5) Increasing Efficiency

Supply chain optimization is a no-brainer. Imagine more accurate and dynamic supply and demand forecasts, production planning, intelligent sorting, automated visual inspection for quality assurance, and much more.

6) Riding Safely

Now, let’s talk about your sleigh. You’ve been using it for a couple of hundred years now, so we highly recommend you adopt predictive maintenance in order to avoid unexpected hiccups on Christmas Eve. The last thing you want to do is sit on the side of the road waiting for a tow on your busiest night of the year. It might take a couple years to train our model given your very unique form of transport, but it will lead to a significant improvement in your sleigh performance, not to mention lowering resource consumption.

Predictive Maintenance for Santa's Sleigh

7) Appointing Formations

Have you ever considered process optimization for your reindeer? AI could provide you with good ideas for reindeer line-ups based on their strengths and past performances. This would clearly define roles, improve energy efficiency and boost overall morale. While we haven’t crunched the numbers, perhaps Dasher and Prancer perform better in warmer climates and should be right up there behind Rudolph? Maybe Cupid and Blitzen perform better before midnight?

8) Choosing the Best Route

Once you’re ready to go, you’d have access to an optimized route, by minimizing the distance you will travel and your limited time frame using deep learning. Factors your model would include: wind speed and direction, available roof parking based on decorations, as well as other discovering other factors you might be missing.

9) Avoiding Surprises

Furthermore, you could use image and video understanding to generate a heatmap determining the most efficient landing path – to both decide which homes are fully asleep, snowy rooftops that might present a challenge, but perhaps most importantly, to verify that the fires are out so you don’t encounter any hot surprises on your way down the chimney.

10) Knowing Your Limits

Finally, there is the potential to train a computer agent with reinforcement learning to determine the rate at which you can eat cookies and drink milk and still fit down the next chimney.

Cookies and Milk Remaining

Even though you are incredibly busy, we suggest implementing these changes as soon as possible. They will allow you to be much more productive and efficient, allowing you and Mrs. Claus to spend more quality time together. It would also allow the elves to have a better work/life balance and ideally, shorter work weeks.

We hope this has helped inspire you to bring some AI to the North Pole. Next week, we’ll be off for the holidays, busy opening the gifts you’ve delivered and enjoying this most wonderful time of year with our families and friends. But when we are back in January, we should definitely talk…you know where to find us.

Until then, warmest wishes for the holiday season and drive safe!

Sincerely,

The Stradigi AI Team