Can Analytics Help Achieve A Better Life?
Imagine the parents of a small child who is going to turn two in the next few weeks. And instead of planning for his birthday as most parents would, the parents of this child are just hoping that he will live to see his birthday. With a heart defect that keeps the tiny heart from functioning normally, the poor kid has seen more nurses and hospital operating rooms than cakes and balloons. What if there were an AI enabled device that could automatically monitor all the key health indicators and alert his parents to any abnormalities that could immediately help them take action instead of just waiting, and watching?
What if that device turns out be the key surprise birthday gift, helping the child reach his birthday milestone with a smile?
We often feel Data and Analytics are esoteric entities that are only traded between companies and used to make even more profits. It either does not impact us, common consumers directly or it’s a like a creepy shadow that we could live well without given the danger of privacy and information leak.
With increased access to technology and data, can Analytic insights actually become the invisible forces that can help improve human lives?
Do we wonder how data can improve agriculture productivity? How it can improve diagnostic healthcare? Or how it can help students personalize their learning paths? Or help assess water shortages? Or ensure drivers are available at the doorstep when you need? Or offer you a loan when you do not have a credit score?
Be it Healthcare, be it Education, Agriculture, Water or Sanitation, Financial Inclusion, access to data has exploded new methods of analysis from predictive maintenance to machine learning based algorithms. Call it data science, analytics, AI, big data – like an invisible magic wand, it is touching many of the earlier processes and systems and making information, goods, services, available to us, improving access, choice and speed.
It’s what runs behind Disney’s ability to provide improved Customer Experience by offering you information on a new ride just when you were tired of waiting in line for the gravity drop. It’s what powers the sudden call you get to refuel your inventory stock before you knew it’s about to get over.
There are enough debates about the perils of data gone wrong. I argue about the “Moral Limits of Data” and its implications here.
We will need to constantly improve our ability to manage data governance and risk.
That said, there’s enough good that Analytics can do. Here’s a link to a quick video on 24 hours in the company of data. Link from the post:
I see you nod as your favourite cup of Almond Milk flavoured Mocha arrives magically even as you enter your favourite coffee shop, albeit in a new country. They have your data, and sometimes, that’s not so bad.