Crunching Data Helps The World

The big issues in the air at this year's World Economic Forum in Davos were privacy and “big data” — the vast amounts of revealing information we generate when using computers and mobile phones.

Pundits have framed the discussion in simplistic terms, as an epic struggle between individual rights and corporate profits. But there is a third way to look at big data, as a source and multiplier of social good. Big data can help us change our world for the better.

There is no doubt that we are in the midst of a data revolution. As we take advantage of newfound abilities, we also generate unprecedented amounts of data about ourselves.

Global Viral Forecasting, works to predict and prevent pandemics. It has done this for more than a decade using on-the-ground epidemiology. It has established “listening posts” in the viral hot spots of the world where the group collects specimens and analyzes them in the lab to identify and catch epidemics before they spread.

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