7 Best Data Science TED Talks You Must Watch

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“Information is the oil of the 21st century and analytics is the combustion engine” – Peter Sondergaard, Senior Vice President at Gartner             

With enterprises of today constantly striving towards digitally transforming themselves to fit and function in the world of the future, the top management is bound to make some key strategic shifts to remain agile and intelligent in their operations to achieve sustainability in the long run. 

Although data is the new oil that is fueling the technological innovations (AI, ML, Blockchain, Cloud Computing, etc.) in 2019 and the years to come ahead, it is being further leveraged by deep-level analytics to generate data patterns and meaningful insights. These actionable insights serve as inputs to the decision-making process by the business leaders to achieve competitive advantage for their business across multiple functions. 

In light of this scenario, we can observe that there has been a “positive” change in the way companies are increasing their IT budgets on data science and analytics. Moreover, companies are also looking for collaborations with leading data science service providers to help them deliver tailored solutions to their clients.   

When it comes to discussing the major Data Science trends to watch out for in 2019, Anthony Goldbloom, CEO and Co-Founder of Kaggle, has predicted that the business-specific or departmental data science teams will soon replace the traditional data centers. It also indicates that the people in the technology industry are shifting towards data science-oriented roles which have a strong staying power in the job marketplace, allowing them to make significant contributions to their companies in particular and society at large.      

Amidst the technological advancements, the convergence of algorithms, data, storage and computational power is setting the stage for a wave of creative disruption, thereby blurring the lines between the physical world and the digital world and making them highly connected to each other. 

For the individuals, data science has given birth to ‘voice-based assistants’ like Alexa, Google which extracts knowledge and insights based on your input/query, voice and then responds to you with the desired output thereby saving you on time and effort. For the companies, data science is the best asset as it serves the dual purposes of digitizing the customer interactions and digitizing the internal processes both to generate data that can be used for product development, marketing and sales as well as optimizing operations and improving productivity.     

TED Talks is a platform that brings together bright minds and knowledge experts from across the globe to put forth their ideas on business, global issues, anything and everything under the sun that’s worthy and share it with the world. Over the years, Ted Talks has captured the growth and development of data with the advent of the Industrial Revolution 4.0. The discussions aptly demonstrate how Data Science encompasses, influences and leverages the business, lifestyle, and even futuristic technologies.    

Whether you are just interested in the data science field or already immersed in it, I have consolidated 7 best TED Talks that you must watch to give you a comprehensive overview of data science: 

 

1. Relationship Analytics & Business (Zack Johnson)    

Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLaQotcqOxo 
In a world where individuals value influencers and connectedness so much, Zack Johnson talks about the importance of data analysis and how it applies to human behavior and employee relationships. Through his brainchild Syndio, Zack illustrates the power that data science on the business world through social network analysis and how it impacts organizational change He further adds that change progresses in 3 forms – adopting the right tools, shifting strategic focus and incorporating high-performance behaviors into the employees’ everyday lives.
 
2. The Beauty of Data Visualization (David McCandless)
Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Zg-C8AAIGg 
David McCandless, through his TED Talk, expresses his love for complex data sets and explains how he uses them to create appealing data visualizations by synthesizing information from a large range of sources like status updates, military spending, media buzz to name a few in a way that it tells a story or makes more sense. Being one of the most renowned data journalists in the world, he suggests that good design is the best way to sail through the information overload and it may also change the perspective from which we see the world. 
3. We’re All Data Scientists (Rebecca Nugent)      
Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMnqPTLoj7o
How big data starts to drive the world, and what kind of skills will you need to interpret it? The skills required by a data scientist is that of a polymath. Rebecca Nugent concentrates on how data science has changed education at a fundamental level, empowering students and employees from all backgrounds, including the humanities and social sciences. In fact, according to Nugent, data science is the “science of the people,” as the power of data can be harnessed by everyone regardless of what field they are in.
4. Making Data Mean More Through Storytelling (Ben Wellington)
 Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xsvGYIxJok
A computer scientist and an expert data analyst, Ben Wellington calls himself a ‘data storyteller’ and explains how improvisation or ‘improv’ relates with data science to tell better stories and connect with their experiences. He also emphasizes on the need for focusing on one idea, keeping it simple and exploring the things that you know best to bring out meaningful stories. 
 
5. The Human Insights Missing from Big Data (Tricia Wang)
Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pk35J2u8KqY 
Tricia Wang reveals and talks the audience through the often-neglected side of data science when it is used incorrectly in some cases. She uses examples ranging from Netflix (modern-day) to ancient Greek mythology (age-old) to explain why some companies still make bad decisions even amidst the vast amounts of data available around them. According to her, the key to effectively drive business decisions in the right direction lies in focusing more on the unquantifiable and qualitative insights from real people apart from the core data analysis.
 
6. The Best Stats You’ve Ever Seen (Hans Rosling)
Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVimVzgtD6w 
Hans Rosling, a global health expert and data visionary, breaks down the mythology and common misconceptions about the so called “developing world” through the use of data analytics in this TED Talk. He makes the discussion quite engaging and easy to comprehend for the audience by presenting the data with the drama and urgency of a sportscaster, as data science and statistics is perceived to be dry and difficult to understand by most of the world due to the complexity of the subject.
 
7. Who Controls the World? (James B. Glattfelder)
Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NgbqXsA62Qs 
A complex systems theorist, James Glattfelder provides a deeper understanding of how data in interconnected systems can reveal the way in which the economy and society works. Using data on people and their interactions, James Glattfelder dives into the study of the complexity theory to explain how the concentration of power in the hands of a few can leave the rest of us all vulnerable. Using the ‘Systems Theory’ of Ludwig von Bertalanffy as the foundation, James Glattfelder explains that it can even be applied to the system of politics to provide some rather telling insights of the impact of data on our lives.  
       

And that’s a wrap!

Whether it is for everyday life or for the business purpose, we cannot deny the fact that data science is the need of the hour in the modern world and the basis of the future world. The more we familiarize ourselves with it, the better equipped we will be to survive.