June 03, 2021

Data Science, Power of the future

Being the family designated techie has its obvious drawbacks, my mother for example.  I swear she is still using an analog phone and now wants me to help her buy a new up to date version, mainly because she can’t see the pictures of the grandchildren, we send her.  Now that may be an easy thing to most people, but most people are not my mum.

Now a simple solution would be to get her to do a bit of research online, she at least knows how to open a browser, but knowing make, model and features that are right for her, well that can be a tall order. So, I looked for myself and was surprised by what I discovered. Most of the decision making appeared to have been completed for me, as I was immediately presented with viable options before really looking, well viable options for me that is. What had happened is I had unwittingly been categorized using Data Science.

Now if you don’t know, data science is a mixture of tools, processes and systems, that are used to extract information or insights from large amounts of data. Now traditionally to buy a phone, the decision needs to be taken on a website that sells mobile phones, they then rate the website, look at available discounts and then the customer purchases the product, what data science can do is help to make decisions and predictions by making use of predictive causal analytics, prescriptive analytics and machine learning.

The growing reputation of data science has led to the growth and importance of data scientists and how they play a critical role for brands, businesses, public agencies and non-profit organizations. For example, data science supports brands to understand their customers in a much greater and empowered manner. When brands and companies utilize data in a comprehensive manner, they can share their story with their target audience, thus creating better brand connect. Its findings and results can be applied to almost any sector like travel, healthcare and education among others.

The biggest resistance to the power of data science is privacy. Older generations (baby boomers, millennials) have expressed concerns about anonymity over the web, not wanting their personal information shared with third party users or stored without their knowledge.

This is in stark contrast however with the world’s latest generation, Generation Z (1996-present). Gen Z are far more willing to part with personal information in exchange for a better service that their predecessors. In-fact a study by the Center for Generational Kinetics in the US found around 50% of Gen Z would leave a website if it didn’t anticipate their needs. With said generation already commanding an estimated $44 Billion in online spending in 2017, these online preferences will surely become more prioritized.

 As it stands according to the McKinsey Global Institute, currently there is a worldwide lack of analytical research talents which is surprising given to the vast amount of data utilized. I personally predict this will change over the next decade or so, and if it means I can find the right phone for my mum, then in my opinion, it is worth the investment.