Data Science for Social Good

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There is a movement underway to translate the use of data into social good. One of the premiere non-profit organizations that strives to help make this happen is DataKind which matches data scientists with projects. Data scientists work in their spare time on a pro bono basis. Over on Quora I’m asked frequently about how newbie data scientists can gain real life experience. Typically I advise folks to participate in Kaggle challenges, but lately I’m telling them to seek out playing a role over at DataKind. Why not help people while learning and gaining experience?

Jake Porway is the founder and executive director of Datakind. In his Strata+Hadoop Keynote, Jake talks about data for the “best of intentions,” or using data to institute radical change to some of the world’s most pressing problems. In particular, he addresses the five principles for applying data science to social good.


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  1. I thought that your article was very interesting! I’ve been reading a lot about data science recently, and how it’s making a big impact on the world today. From big companies to small businesses, everyone is discovering the importance of data science and the information it provides. I really liked the video that you included in your article as well, I felt that Jake really explained how his company is using data science to help solve the world’s problems! Do you think that the field of data science will continue to grow in the future?

    • Thanks for the kind words. I do think that using data science for social good is a very positive use of technology and DataKind exemplifies this trend. Will data science continue to grow? Absolutely! “Data science” is just a confluence of traditional disciplines: computer science, statistics, applied mathematics so these fields will continue to play an important role in business applications.