Jus Rerum 2020-10-12: 8 Min

Data science 101: Having control over statistics, is equal to having control over the world

Author: Aeiknor Kaur Virk

Student of ASET, Amity University Madhya Pradesh

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You read the title of this article and wanted to fall asleep right? I'm sure this seems like a lecture your parents would give you to make you study. Or something your teachers would say to try and convince you of the importance of subjects you think you'll never use in real life. Haven't we all seen and laughed at memes about maths, and about the futility of learning complicated formulas, when in the end we end up in completely different careers? What we don't realise is, that every career ends up being a puppet in the strings of data science and statistics. How? Let me first bring to light the various ways in which different fields employ stats, and how you've known about it always, but never given much thought to it. Be prepared to be slightly bored for the next paragraphs, but stuck with it, because you're being controlled without your knowledge, and I want you to snatch back that control. 

Here goes nothing: 

 

The role of stats in business: 

They use statistics regularly to decide which route to take to get the best results. They use it to decide locations for businesses, to market a product, to map the possible reaction of customers to different products, to judge the need for a product in a particular demographic and whatnot.

e.g. You must have heard Colgate ads that say 4 out of 5 dentists recommend it or Lifebuoy with its 99% per cent bacteria-killing statements. It's all statistics.

 

The role of stats in economics:

Economists use statistics to test hypotheses, collect and analyse data. Supply and demand chains are found vis a vis stat, the inflation rate, per capita income, GDP rise or fall, is all predicted through statistics and data science. 

e.g. Right now, all the figures surrounding Indian GDP, and its future outcomes are being done through statistics.

 

The role of stats in management:

Nations are literally run due to stats. Federal and provincial budgets, when to spend and what to spend money on, investment chains etc are all designed using statistical formulae.

e.g. Insurance companies and the banks you save your money in all invest to increase their profits, and statistics play a key role in deciding where the money will go, and how much of it will go. 

 

The role of stats in mass communication and journalism: 

Data journalism is an upcoming field in this area. Right now, media houses and big journalists etc. have become adept at statistical analysis. They can map what story will instigate violence, what story will get the largest number of people to visit their site, what captions are the most in-demand etc.

e.g. The IT cell in our country has created a huge ruckus through its instigating fake news stories etc., and it's all been done through manipulating people to get data and chart the best possible way to incite them into violence. 

 

The role of stats in computer science and engineering: 

Every field previously explained works on statistics through data science, and data scientists are majorly engineers. The highest paid jobs in the world are of data scientists because this field's now controlling the world. Data science is basically using a huge amount of data, implementing statistical formulae on it, and then extracting insights from it. These insights are then used to control the world. From creating ads designed specifically for individual users to predicting human behaviour, nothing is out of reach in this field. More fields in this area that use statistics are machine learning (technologies mimic human behaviour), data mining, big data analytics etc. 

e.g. Data science careers shaping the future are:

Data Scientist, Machine learning engineer, data architect, data engineer etc. Again, they are going to control the world and its future possible outcomes. 

 

Did you battle boredom, go through the previous part of this article, and reach this para? Great. By now, you've seen the extent of statistics, and how much it affects us. But how is it controlling us, you may ask? Everything you see on social media is a product. You are the customer. The product can be a simple shopping site ad, or the "related to this" posts you see after visiting any site. Everything you do is recorded and then used to extract even more data out of you. 

Scratch the customer part, YOU are the data that statistics works on. 

 

If you see instigating news, or posts or WhatsApp forwards, they are actually well thought out information pieces, meant to rouse people for the benefit of the company who created them. You're being played, with the very data you're providing to the world. 

Don't be weirded out though, it's happening to every one of us. Even spending time on this very article is being recorded somewhere and will be used to form an even clearer picture of you and your personality. In fact, my writing this article is a data point I've provided to someone.

"The data volumes are exploding; more data has been created in the past two years than in the entire previous history of the human race" And it's only going to grow. 

 

Why should you learn stats and data science? It doesn't matter if you're not going to be an expert in this field or even be very good at it. Just having the required knowledge is enough. 

Plus, most of us already practice data science without even realising it. Don't we use fitness trackers, or check our heartbeat rates etc.? Don't we keep reminders on our phones and receive updates? Haven't we, at least once in our lives, checked our phone usage and time spent on different apps? 

 

So, pat your back, because you have one more skill to write on your resume.

Knowing how data is manipulated and manufactured into the public domain will only teach you to be more logical, less prone to making judgements solely due to baseless news etc, and will give you the option to expand your own business or organisation.

"At heart, analytics is all about solving problems" - SAS

Problem-solving is a much needed, yet rare skill isn't it? 

 

Instead of asking why you should be learning data and stats etc., you should be asking why, in this age of digital times and big data, you're still not.


Bibliography

Websites Referred:

 

  1. Steven Hopper, 5 Reasons Everyone Should Learn Data, TOWARDDATASCIENCE.COM (Apr 5, 2020), https://towardsdatascience.com/5-reasons-everyone-should-learn-data-cbd4bd335230

  1. SAS, 5 reasons why everybody should learn data analytics, SAS.COM (Last visited Oct 5, 2020) https://www.sas.com/en_au/insights/articles/analytics/5-reasons-why-everybody-should-learn-data-analytics.html

  2. Udemy Editor, The Importance of Statistics in Many Different Fields, BLOG.UDEMY.COM (Last visited Oct 5, 2020), https://blog.udemy.com/importance-of-statistics/


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Please note that the views expressed above represent the opinions of the author. All the information on the website of Jus Rerum is published in good faith and for general information purpose only. We does not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability and accuracy of this information.


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