The Importance of Data Science to Humanity

One of the most notable developments in the 21st century is the advancement in technology. It continues to transform and whether it is good or bad varies from one branch of technology to another. However, the importance of data science and other innovations to humanity is difficult to underrate.

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Data scientists and fintech firms continue to leverage data analytics techniques and tools to solve various human needs. Thus, unlike many people who believe that data scientists focus too much on data and technology at the expense of serving humanity directly, the reverse is correct. Data scientists work like the rest in other fields to provide practical solutions to problems that endanger human safety, health, and well-being.

Types of Data Used Popularly for Social Good

There is a general rule that any data used for serving the public must be accessible to data scientists without any restrictions, patents, or copyright issues. Scientists refer to this kind of information as open data, and it has the following characteristics;

  • They use internationally or regionally accepted classification criteria such as ISO 3166 to categorize such data.
  • The file formats for the data are nonproprietary, thus they are either in JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) and Comma-Separated Values(CSV)
  • All such data have an inclusion of metadata that elaborates what the file contains.
  • Any scientist can access the data using standard communication channels.

Ideally, there is also a lot of data that is freely available on the internet but is not open due to copyright and patent restrictions applied by its creators. However, nonprofits and data scientists working for nonprofit organizations who use data for good causes can access such data upon request.

How Data Scientists Use Data for Good Causes

According to Bloomberg, science is generally good for technology but how good it varies from one branch of science to another. A case in point is machine learning, which generates millions of dollars for the private sector through advertising while it has very little contribution to humanity.

The objective of data science to humanity utilizes the power of data analytics technologies to solve serious problems for those who lack the high market power that private enterprises have. Data science does not rely on data focusing on a single issue. Instead, it uses data collected for other purposes to provide solutions to health and welfare issues. It does so in the following ways;

  • Sharing Data- Public and nonprofit organizations such as Cane Bay Partners provide researchers and data scientists with open data sources related to common problems that affect humanity. They share data that other nonprofits use for solving pertinent issues. The data could include anything that touches on healthcare infrastructure, air quality, school enrollment, and anything of public interest. 
  • Creation of a Holistic Ecosystem for Data- Data sharing comes first in ensuring that the data can potentially impact society by creating an open platform. However, the process goes beyond generally sharing data to create an ecosystem for social research. The ecosystem also ensures data security, helps develop skills, and highlights organizations that gain from the data.
  • International Aid Transparency Initiative– Also known as IATI, this nonprofit entity aims to promote openness and transparency concerning data use aimed at helping developing countries. It has a large membership subscription, including governments, private businesses, multilateral institutions, and humanitarian organizations that need data to help disadvantaged populations.

Data science uses public sector data and nonprofit data to solve various humanity problems. Although many people ignore the importance of such data because it sometimes does not come with direct profits, data science is significant for improving the health, development, and welfare of at-risk populations worldwide.

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