Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen. Data Science Revolution
The Huffington Post was launched in 2005, but if it had been launched ten years earlier, it would have met a completely different audience. By 2005, the average reader was versed in the digital world, spending a lot of time online, communicating mainly through email, mobile phones, and social services. That was before Siri, Google Now, and Waze. Today we are more than ever addicted to intelligent machines. Computers, which appeared as linear tools for performing discrete engineering tasks, have evolved into universal devices that help everyone in solving everyday problems.
Ahead of us are even more exciting times.
We believe that in the next 10 years computers will go beyond their current capabilities. From their current role as our assistants, they will become consultants. With the help of machines, we will deal with the most complex issues facing the world today.
Once upon a time, computers were created for a special purpose. Operating with data arrays, solving specific highly specialized search, and not only tasks. They still do this, only at higher speeds and difficulty levels. The power of data science and machine learning allowed us to delegate a large number of resource-intensive tasks, freeing us up for more valuable activities.
Consider Fitbit. We could, of course, track our physical activity manually, but we will not succeed as accurately and consistently as a specially designed and programmed wearable device. If you remember about driving cars, it’s scary to think about how much time you could free up for work, study or communication, using a car with autopilot. In addition, traffic safety would certainly increase, since the computer driver does not get tired, does not drink and is not distracted by conversations.
The benefits of digital tools are not limited to the small and unique applications. Fishermen off the coast of Africa are currently using mobile phones to find where to sell their catch more expensive. Students who once shared one textbook for the entire class can now access any information through the Internet.
However, we believe that computers will play an even greater role. Their ability to analyze data is constantly growing, and every day more and more data is digitized. They will have a widespread social impact and help us solve pressing issues such as health and climate change.
According to some estimates, over the next few decades, urban traffic will grow to 60 million people a year. This will entail issues such as traffic management, fuel shortages, increased carbon emissions and urban planning.
In the next decade, the number of summary information indicators will grow exponentially - car owners, fuel consumption, average waiting time at each traffic light, etc. We will not be able to analyze all this data ourselves. But with machine learning, computers will be able to do this. Countless relationships and dependencies will be discovered, and urban planning will become more scientific, solving some potential problems before they can even arise.
Data science transforms medicine. The IBM supercomputer (Watson) can already determine the best treatment courses for patients based on records in medical records. In the future, machine learning will affect a wider range of diseases. We present all biologically significant data in databases for advanced computer analysis. The insight of computerized recognition methods is already overwhelming. Our understanding of treatment and prevention can be completely transformed. Today we review the data of already sick people and medical research focused on a specific sample of treated patients. Imagine expanding the scope of our analysis to a hidden understanding of the entire population and general data that go beyond the scope of the disease and include such factors,
What if anonymous data collected from fitness trackers leads to an understanding of disease prevention? What if computerized recognition methods can find the genetic dependencies of cancer? Imagine that just like money for cancer research, we could donate our anonymous FitBit data collected to save lives.
We believe that the goal of computers is to empower people by complementing their abilities. In the next decade, we will learn how to build machines that go beyond simple tasks. And this is an exciting time to live.
This post is part of a series dedicated to the 10th anniversary of The Huffington Post .
Eric Schmidt is Google’s executive chairman. Jared Cohen is the founder and director of the Google Ideas Science Center and an advisor to the executive chairman. Together they wrote a book - “The New Digital World: How Technologies Change People’s Life, Business Models and the Concept of States.”
In the article, I intentionally used the untranslated terms data science and machine learning , because, in my opinion, simple translation as a data science and machine learning do not fully reflect their essence.