Using Data Science to Predict the Future and Save the Planet

As data scientists, our job is to extract signal from noise.

Daniel Tunkelang
Photo by Michael Competielle

The Big Data Age

We are presently embedded in the fabric of the historical time period presently known as the Information Age and more importantly the Big Data Age. Data and digital storage have changed the way in which we share knowledge and information. It also has changed the vessel in which we consume content. A wealth of valuable knowledge is literally a few keystrokes away.

Technological trends have created a booming industry of “smart” connected devices known as the “Internet of Things”. These devices were previously “dumb” devices such as your toothbrush, watch, or refrigerator. This new technology is booming as connectivity is being installed by manufacturers in most business segments. According to Intel 55% of all data will be generated by IOT by 2025.

Recently I purchased a new GE window air conditioner. As my household has reduced inhabitants over the past few years and the central air conditioning system is gracefully aging, I’m looking for ways to reduce my carbon footprint. The weight of this new window unit isn’t dissimilar to the older models I remember in my apartment living days. Its the integration of IOT wifi connection that took me by surprise.

Why does a simple air conditioning unit need Wi-Fi connectivity? It actually doesn’t. As I pondered the invasiveness of having “big brother” monitor my air conditioning consumption I decided to connect anyway.

GE provides an app SmartHQ that allows you to connect your device to the outside world. The app monitors outside temperature, fan speed, targeted temperature, filter status, and allows an option for economy mode. You can remotely monitor your indoor temperature and program times until will cycle on and off.

Why Share the Data?

Okay, so data sharing and a connected world is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, we are becoming more disconnected as we add more connected devices and streams of data. I’ve written about it and work to spend some of my time disconnected. So what lies on the other edge of the sword? The future of our planet.

So you may have stopped reading by this point however if you have hung on for the ride I’m going to clarify it all for you. We are not only currently struggling to deal with Global Warming and a Deadly Pandemic, but we are also dealing with Global Economies and potential economic collapse.

So why exactly does Data Science matter?

Ask someone how they feel? Most of the time people feel “fine” or “okay” or tired. Who in the world knows you better than Google? And more importantly Google Trends? Oh, so that’s where all of my data is stored? Sort of. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, 92% of internet searches go thru Google.

The power of instantaneous Global Data can and will be used by scientists, marketers, manufactures, and governments to see current trends. An outbreak in COVID cases? Google probably knows first. According to this week’s Google Trends for the United States, the effects of COVID seem to be trending.

We are ultimately seeing trends in hardship cases for illness, economic struggles, civil issues, environmental concerns by compiling and analysis of the data. By willingly volunteering the data we allow Data Scientists the opportunity to share the information that can ultimately prepare us to forecast the future and make minor adjustments to fend off outbreaks and struggle.

Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.”

 Aaron Levenstein, business professor at Baruch College.

Author: mtcwriter

Michael Competielle is a Creative Designer specializing in Sound, Brand and Experiential Design.

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