These days the abundance of Big Data is helping philanthropists and Data Scientists for Good to solve any kind of social problem. Here’s how it all started.
The prospects to use Big Data for social causes has increased many folds today, all thanks to the Big Data available in abundance. Its growth is attributed to the existence of tools for expert data analysis and deciphering its diversified contents.
The Big Data application that worked for the social reforms is a newer trend. Back in 1997, the NASA researchers Michael Cox and David Ellsworth named the huge information received through supercomputers ‘Big Data’, because they found it very challenging to envisage and analyze such a huge data.
Ten years later when Web 2.0 and Google maps were in their early days, the tech writers revived the term Big Data. They underlined the importance of larger dataset analysis for the fields of Science, Medicines, Technology and business.
The statistical analysis would make clearer sense out of the large datasets by predicting weather patterns and airline ticket prices. Also, some other unimaginable things like the ability to map the outer space and even understanding the reasons of bones decay. This was how Evangelists celebrated ‘petabyte age’ at Wired magazine.
In current perspective, Big Data is restricted more around tracking and targeting consumers. The growth of diverse database from the histories of cell phones, sensor data, public records to selling system all is correlated to Big Data directly. The far-reaching benefits of Big Data are discussed by business writers time and again highlighting its impacts. Among those being the upsurge in market competition, monitoring real-time effects, targeted marketing strategies, accuracy in creating customer’s profiles and potential assured profits.
There are few apprehensive groups of researchers and writers too, who think data analytics will create an indifferent data league. Whereas, many social entrepreneurs and activists see the big opportunities by the prevailing inundation of Big Data. Their biggest humanitarian concerns are the world’s most crucial issues such as poverty, diseases, ecological imbalance, famines, war and terror crimes.
Public health and philanthropically relief experts see Big Data analytically important for solving different issues. Most of the innovations interestingly come from non-profit organizations and public-private partnerships. In 2007, Ushahidi developed the user generated inputs on Kenyan post-election violence. That accounted for initiating public’s donations there.
The Swift River platform was made interactive and categorized to verify general public’s reporting of atrocities received through emails, text messages and social media platforms. Ever since its inception, Ushahidi is instrumental in collecting eyewitness accounts and its appropriate analysis. They are doing functional reporting right from Haiti earthquakes to Macedonia corruption episodes.
Datakind is a group created for associating data scientists to civil society groups in the pro-bono capacity. They have recently organized ‘data dives’ workshops to assist groups like World Bank for transparency, good governance support for anti-corruption, through analyzing multiple data sets.
Datakind and other non-profit organizations like Developers For Good support the new generation of socially inclined scientists. They are contributing their selfless services to the humanitarian causes to the world. In this regard, profit-oriented companies too are getting the benefits of Big Data for various social causes.