Role of Data Science in Public Policy and Need of “Internet of Data”

July 5, 2018

Data science has the potential to solve a lot of problems of Pakistan and other developing countries of the world. Data science can act as a catalyst to attain sustainable development in Pakistan and other underdeveloped countries where public institutions for development and accountability are broken.


Who is a data scientist?

Data scientist is someone who has a combination of skills in the realm of mathematics, statistics, computer science and data warehousing and is able to combine data of different formats and sources together to provide meaningful insights and inferences that are useful for decision making.


Why policy makers need data science?

Let’s take the example of Pakistan to understand why policy makers need data science. Policy makers of Pakistan in particular and developing world in general face the same set of problems. All the public institutions including the pillars of government are contaminated with corrupt bureaucracy, the political class is dishonest, incompetent and not willing to change the current state of affairs because let’s be real, they feed on this incompetence and corruption. So, even if an honest and competent person comes to power, he fails to deliver. He might be able of create some waves in this dead sea of corruption but he cannot change the system. We have seen this happen in Baluchistan when Dr. Maalik, an honest man, came into power. So, it doesn’t matter who rules the country and however much honest they are, the true benefits of democracy and democratic policies will never reach at the door steps of a common citizen.

If a government wants to deliver, it must bypass this system and conventional methods of policy making. Data science can help policy makers to make well informed, precise and evidence based decisions. It can also help them determine the footprints of their policies instantly and they can pinpoint the loop holes in their policies with the help of evidence based precise data.


Why do we need an Internet of Data?

I gathered that the emphasis of data science is more on the extraction of information in meaningful ways utilizing technological skills from associated disciplines to help policy makers understand complex issues in a more simple manner. However, the driver of such pursuits is the accessibility to data, something that appears to be scarce in the developing countries. There is a dire need to build a data infrastructure, Internet of Data, which requires skill sets to mine multiple sets of interconnected data organizations simultaneously and link their insights to build a clearer vision of the policy makers.

Let us know what you think about this need here and don’t forget to drop your comments at the bottom. Thanks!

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