Before we begin our deep dive into how data science is changing the world, review data science applications and get acquainted with data-centric industries, let’s make sure we are firm on what data science actually is. First things first, data science is not a standalone industry but involves an overlap of three other disciplines — math and statistics, computer science and business knowledge.
Data science works in several steps that initiate by extracting required data, continues with data analysis and data processing, and finalizes with drawing insights from our data. The purpose of data science is to find different type patterns within blocks of information we just fed to it. And its magical skill dexterity has helped and is still helping us change the world in three gorgeously profound ways, let’s look into them 😉
We can predict the future (seriously)
Did you know that the first one to predict coronavirus pandemic was actually a computer, not a person? We wrote a great piece about it in our Using AI and Data Science to Fight the Coronavirus Outbreak article, which explains how artificial intelligence from a Canadian surveillance app alarmed its users on the upcoming danger 10 full days before WHO did.
No wonder one of the greatest data science applications is future prediction. With machine learning’s great talent in recognizing data patterns, we are now able to forecast threatening health conditions, malfunctioning hardware pieces, infectious livestock diseases, gas leaks, data breaches, collision threats, fire hazards, etc.
Forecasting any performance failures in the transportation and manufacturing lines does not only conserve the company’s money and streamlines supply chain processes, but quite literally saves human lives.
One government official has also told us how data science and statistical techniques are currently helping to prevent possible terroristic attack happenings. By analyzing the tone, the wording and the overall message teenagers share in their social media pages, these agencies were able to prevent several massacres that otherwise would have gone undetected. Speaking of security, we’re moving to the next major advancement brought to us by data science.
We are getting much safer (luckily)
Since we’ve managed to turn the first spark into a bonfire to scare those predators away, security has always been a primary concern to all humankind. So it’s no surprise one of the most powerful data tools we have today is being used ubiquitously by National Security Agency, law enforcement, government headquarters, immigration offices, police departments and other institutions aimed to keep all of us safe.
The picture painted in the “6 Underground” with Ryan Reynolds is quite literal, so if you’re planning to commit any crime without getting noticed you’ll need to execute an informational suicide or otherwise your logins, your transactions, your likes and your call records will easily give you away.
With smart scans, cameras, sensors and cloud storages keeping information up to forever, each of your movements is closely tracked, which, if we put aside a conversation about privacy, is great for our security.
One of the great examples of how data science is keeping us safe is adopted by banks and is proven to be highly efficient. If there is an occurrence outside a credit card user’s typical monetary sum, geographic location, IP address, purchases or simply a different withdrawal frequency, the said transaction is denied, the card is instantly blocked with the user receiving a new one. But getting ourselves smarter, richer and safer isn’t the only thing we get from using our data science and our statistical techniques, because as it appears:
We make the world a better place (for everyone)
We all remember that last line in action movies where the main bad guy confesses all his wrongdoings were actually acts of goodwill and a loving heart. A part where he says his mega-neutrino bomb was secretly a saving vaccine “against humanity as the planet’s worst virus’. As in we humans suck and everything we touch turns to dust. But as it turned out, in the real world we humans are actually the good guys.
Not only we collectively treat our planet better each year, but we also use our best minds, resources and efforts to protect it. Three industry leaders — Environmental Defense Fund, California Air Resources Board and Plant Labs — are currently working on the conjoint reporting platform, that by launching two satellites into space aims to track the present situation and any occurring climate change squarely.
Likewise, governments and city officials are using data patterns to allocate resources more wisely in regards to traffic routes, street lights, water supply and other utilities. The ubiquitous rise of smart homes, solar power, and multilateral recycling helps developed countries to decrease energy consumption and increase their efficiency.
There’s even a yearly “Data Science for Social Good” event hosted by the same-name fellowship, where data scientists from all over the world get together to help mother nature and “tackle the problems that really matter”.
It turns out data matters are inextricably linked to our modern-day progress and the whole purpose of data science is to propel that progress deeper and further. Feeling in the mood for more playful insights?
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Originally published at https://insightwhale.com on October 4, 2020.