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DataScan: Issue #49

Do tech companies really need all that data? How can fitness trackers aid medical research? GDPR: com


September 24 · Issue #49 · View online
Curated digest on the world of data.

Do tech companies really need all that data? How can fitness trackers aid medical research? GDPR: competitive advantage or compliance? Why do companies buy AI startups?
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Do tech companies really need all that data? Walter Frick reports on a new working paper, by Lesley Chiou of Occidental College and Catherine Tucker of MIT, which explores whether “larger quantities of historical data affect a firm’s ability to maintain market share in Internet search”. This, in turn, measures the competitive advantage of data. The findings show that “historical data may be less valuable than fresher data” and that anonymising data “didn’t appear to impair the search experience”. 🔍
Frick contextualises this in the current AI rush and questions whether the tech giants will have a clear advantage due to their “massive data troves” or whether “newcomers” can acquire “enough data to train intelligent systems”. Frick also questions whether the “trade-off” of giving up personal data “in exchange for products that are free and easy to use” is a correct assumption:
Yes, people benefit from the many excellent and free tech products out there. Yes, they’ll probably benefit in countless ways from new AI-powered solutions. But they don’t always need to completely give up their privacy to get them.
– Nesta published their first report for DECODE (DEcentralised Citizen Owned Data Ecosystem) on the future of the personal data economy. Notably, the report points out the need for accessible anonymous data for the common good. 🙌
How can fitness trackers aid medical research? Megan Molteni explores how FitBit data is being used to study “how exercise can help people deal with disease”. FitBit launched FitBase in 2012, and it has since “collected over 3.5 billion minutes of Fitbit data on behalf of research customers at places like John Hopkins, MD Anderson Cancer Center, and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute”. At current, FitBase data has been used to publish 457 research studies -> one of the key findings has been how exercise can help to prevent cognitive decline amongst breast cancer survivors. 📈
GDPR: competitive advantage or compliance? ⚖  Nice blog post by SSC on how the GDPR can position the UK as “one of the safest and most secure places worldwide in which to trust and conduct commerce”. The post references the “confidence-sapping effect of cyber breaches” and how this new regulation should drive innovation:
Visionary tech leaders will be those who create precedent and make GDPR principles a badge of differentiation and trust. Who become champions of security and transparency to drive increased customer loyalty.
Apparently, nearly a half million small businesses in the UK don’t have a clue about the upcoming GDPR. 🙈  –> Hogan Lovells explains how the GDPR may impact DeepMind’s use of patient data going forward.
🐍  Why is Python growing so quickly?
🔮  The ten fallacies of data science. 
💯  A Wikipedia for Data Viz.
🎧  Data Stories -> the “best worth viz”.
👾  Developing a brainlike device for learning & computation:
via Quanta Magazine
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