How Does Analytics Enable Better Lives?

How Does Analytics Enable Better Lives?

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, immediately helping them take action instead of just waiting and watching?

What if that device turns out to be the 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 -- the common consumers -- directly or it is 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 analytics insights actually become the invisible forces that can help improve human lives?

Do we wonder how ...


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Moral Limits of Data: Let’s Shift the Conversation to Good Data

Moral Limits of Data: Let’s Shift the Conversation to Good Data

Consider this. A terminally ill patient has just been told by her doctor that she has just about a year more left to live. She has a life insurance policy of $100,000. But what she needs now is money – for medical care or perhaps simply to live her life well for the last few days. Say an investor offers to buy that policy from her at a discount of $50,000 and to take over the annual premium payment. When she dies, he will be the one to collect the $100,000.

It’s a deal. The dying policyholder gets access to cash, and the investor makes a profit. But there’s a catch. Everything depends on her dying, on schedule. Known as the viatical industry, the instrument guarantees a certain payoff at death, but the rate of return depends on how long the person lives. If the policy holder dies in less than one year, the investor makes a killing (metamorphically, at least). If she survives till two years, his annual rate of return is cut in half, and he has to pay additional premium payments. If she somehow recovers, the investor could end up making nothing.

Sounds too horrible to be true? In ...


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The 8 Actors a Data Scientist Must Meet

The 8 Actors a Data Scientist Must Meet

If you are on the verge of joining the Analytics industry, your vision of an ideal day in a life of a practitioner could be someone who effortlessly dives into data to create that perfect beer-and-nappy Eureka insight moment (technically termed as market basket analysis) which shows the unlikely insight that beer and diapers get bought together during game nights; a solution that gets implemented immediately in the retail store design and in turn leads to a dramatic increase in revenue growth.

Truth is the journey from data to revenue growth is more like a well-crafted drama that unfolds across many different stages. There are various actors that need to enact their roles, successfully, on each of these make-shift stages, for the journey to be completed.

Intrigued? Let’s see how:

"However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results” – Sir Winston Churchill

Role: Strategist

Script: Let’s say the business faces a profitability problem or an issue of increased credit risk. The strategist must work with the business to understand the context and convert that into an analytics problem which can be addressed by data. Data then becomes an enabler to understand patterns and help solve the problem.

"Sometimes we stare so long at ...


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