OMDENA is an innovation platform for building AI solutions and along with Red Dot Foundation, they aim to ensure that private spaces- both indoors as well as online are safer for everyone by analysing the data and understanding the challenges. With respect to that, Antara Basu, a feminist writer and a blogging intern with Safecity, has written a few words on the Importance of DATA.
The Importance of DATA
– ANTARA BASU
DATA, it’s a two-syllable word. Two syllables in a language which boasts of a ceiling of 19 syllables. And yet, data forms the nucleus of our life cells. The numerous ways in which data helps us would perhaps incite a new definition of infinity. If we were to imagine a world wherein the invaluable treasure troves of data that we’ve been collecting since the beginning of creation did not exist. Then the simplest tasks, from procrastinating students hastily finishing up summer projects, to the more complex issues of legal battles, business management or medical diagnosis, it simply could not be done.
Data functions to sustain numerous areas of work. For instance, be it education wherein it is used to understand demographics and academic results, to formulate school plans or prepare the curriculum, or to record the success rates of individual institutions. Or be it lawyers who scrutinize data to understand legal precedents, or analyse patterns of cases and judges to secure wins for their clientele. Even with individuals engaged in the business sector, data helps to perceive consumer behaviour and habits, serves in sales and marketing, promotion to attract new customers. Arenas like law enforcement which at first glance we might not associate with data, also benefit immensely from it. In recent years, it has been possible to collect data and statistics which enhance lower crime rates, or algorithms to identify at risk areas or neighbourhoods with higher crime rates. This is turn improves the efficiency of surveillance, and hence a reduced risk of violence. In the entire scale of the professional domain which ranges from one extreme to another like say military to hospitality to finance it is data that always remains a constant.
If I were to talk about the significance of data at a micro or a personal level, then saying that it is an indispensable part of life would be accurate. Right from any research study for school or even the research for writing an article everything consists of a common prerequisite that is, understanding and critically examining all the priorly existing data on the subject and to further build upon it. And not just research I believe the most important purpose that data serves is awareness. Data is so inclusive that it has an opinion on every conceivable subject known to mankind. It is because of this ability of mine to access such an enormous field of information that I can open my mind to varied possibilities. Being in my senior year, higher education is noticeably a primary concern. And it is due to the presence of collected pre-existing data that I can enlist its aid to assist me in choosing colleges or universities or courses, or something as simple as selecting a book to read, or a movie to watch in daily routine.
Another aspect that is often overlooked is the amount of time data collection saves. Though might not realise it, we consume large quantities of data in everyday life. Be it for acquiring professional goals or to expand our personal knowledge. To complete any task, all I have to do tap at a single button and I possess within my hands entire systems of data and information. But just to think of the time, energy and resources that I’d have to waste on retrieving similar information over and over again if data collection was stopped or ceased to exist is unimaginable. Whether I couldn’t remember the name of a character or to read the plot summary of the next show to binge watch, even such seemingly frivolous decisions are supported by an entire structure. And that is the way I and rather all of us have grown acquainted with, a collected and organised system which is easy to access and navigate.
Data possess a characteristic antonymous to human life; a perpetual nature in contrast to human transitoriness. But if a proper apparatus for collection, analysis and study isn’t in place, it becomes unusable. In the absence of collected data, I can’t even understand the scope and extent of the subject I am dealing with. And till that is achieved one can’t possibly, move on to the outcomes or strategizing solutions to contest the same.
Data is something that has become such a fundamental part of our lives that we cannot even begin to comprehend the challenges in its absence. Because even if something isn’t codified, that doesn’t become synonymous to non-existence. Codification merely tries to transform complexity and break down issues to make them easier to grasp. Therefore, if data collection ceases to exist, our extensive inventory of societal problems won’t. Only, the tackling mechanisms become even more difficult. And human life yet more complicated.
The views expressed are that of the writer.