For a long time, Data Science, Big Data, and AI have been touted as technologies built to help only big enterprises. While these technologies do help with storing, mining, and analyzing vast amounts of data that large enterprises have access to, there are not-for-profit organizations that are using publicly available data to put them to use for the benefit of humanity. Even government agencies are now looking up data science’s benefits to better their services and public infrastructure.
In the sections below, let us look at some of such use cases of data science for the welfare of humanity in general.
Data Science for alleviation of poverty
Many developing countries are focused on the alleviation of poverty by including them in their core government policies. It is a challenging goal, with most poverty-stricken populations concentrated in several pockets in cities or deep rural areas.
For the government to start working on alleviation programs, it has to have a good idea about the scale and levels of poverty. Here is where data science is proving to be promising. They can use two sources, given their widespread availability and penetration: satellites and mobile phones.
There are over 3.5 billion mobile subscribers and over a thousand satellites orbiting the earth, both generating data at a massive scale every second. Users can harness this data to get a more accurate account of pockets in cities and rural areas where poverty is relatively high. You can put data extracted from high-resolution satellite imagery to such use. Correlating this data with national surveys, you can have machine learning algorithms that help you understand the true extent of poverty and predictions into the future.
Climate change is a hot (literally) topic in our times, and data science has a critical role in our efforts to understand and take steps to reverse climate change.
Government bodies can only tackle climate change because climate change is a function of environmentally sensitive (or insensitive) policies. To make the government aware of the large-scale impacts of climate change, it became necessary to collect evidence.
One of the biggest impacts of climate change is the increase in sea levels around the globe. Armed with satellite imagery, data from various sensors, videos from the poles of the earth, meteorological data, and others, scientists can put up a predictive model of how many countries are losing land to the rising sea. It is compelling evidence for governments to initiate corrective actions, including new policies to arrest global warming.
Data science technologies like Machine Learning, Deep Learning can predict natural calamities like earthquakes, wildfires, cloud bursts, and flooding. This allows enough time for authorities to evacuate people from harm’s way.
Improving Public Health
Data Science has found many applications in the healthcare field, including medical imaging, genomics, drug discovery, predictive analytics, patient monitoring, virtual consultations, and more.
Machine learning and deep learning algorithms are employed in medical imaging to scan hundreds of thousands of medical images like X-ray, MRI, and CT scans and learn from them. Doctors can now have digital copies of a medical image scanned through computers for the early diagnosis of deadly diseases.
Drug Discovery is another area in medical science where data science is making a quick and lasting impression. Drug discovery is a path that can turn out to be quite expensive apart from time-consuming. Even with that kind of investment, only about 10% make it to the pharmaceuticals market. Data science techniques like Machine Learning and Deep Learning can be used at various stages of the drug discovery journey, like target discovery, lead compound discovery, and In Vino and In Vitro assays. Machine Learning algorithms are used to develop various prediction models that help predict the chemical, physical, and biological characteristics of lead compounds. Machine learning is also used to find new uses of drugs and predict a protein’s reaction to specific compounds.
There are endless possibilities for the use of data science for the betterment of humanity. The fun part is that you can even attempt to implement these data science techniques on publicly available data, create your own models, and propose solutions to the widespread problems that humanity faces today.
If this has sparked an interest to learn data science, there is no better day than today. Great Learning offers several courses and programs in data science in collaboration with renowned educational institutions. These courses are not only designed but also presented by experts in their own fields. Join today!