(upbeat music) - [Interviewer] What do you feel are the biggest kind of uses for big data in the United States that help do good? - Well the first one is in the United States, one of the big lenses that we look through data at right now has purely been corporate, how can data change the trajectory for a company. How can it change the trajectory of revenue, new products those type of things and what we've often failed to look at is well where are the largest repositories of data and how could we use those? And those data sets are the ones that are typically owned by governments, the state government the local county or the Federal government.
The part there is if you look at those data sets whether it's weather data, or healthcare data the opportunity to use that data in novel ways is truly transformative. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for the United States opened up a data set that really people had no idea about. Which is this idea of how are drugs being prescribed? So when that data set was opened we weren't sure what people were able to find, and yet a set of enterprising reporters went through it and discovered that there are certain drugs that were being prescribed at an unbelievable rate compared to others, those drugs were opiods, and that's how people actually found out.
That there was this bizarreness of drugs in one county being prescribed at very different rates from another and they were able to put this together and say wait a sec, and visit those places and realize hey there's another problem coming about here, and that it's the opiod epidemic isn't just a bunch of people who are drug abusers using heroin on the street. But it might be a mother who happened to go get a root canal that got too much Vicodin and got addicted, and that we, that we're approaching the problem with a social lens that was incorrect.
The same is true with this other incredible data set around traffic fatalities where today unfortunately on our roads in the United States, more than 100 Americans are gonna die, that erases 30 years of safety improvements and we don't fully understand why. You know what people think about obviously right away, is distracted driving that's one element. But we also drive heavier cars, we drive faster, we drive longer distances right now because fuel is cheaper, we have bike lanes, we have more pedestrians in urban areas.
So what is it and what are the solutions? We can't just rely on the Federal government to come up with those ideas, but enterprising data scientists could figure out what this is. Traditionally we've called those just economists, because economists come up with the data set and they figure out something unbelievably interesting. The ones that Dr. Black and Dr. Crane showed is the greatest rise in where, how people are dying in the United States are middle age white males from suicide and other issues.
So what's going on behind that? How do we do that? How do we look at that? These aren't just questions of economics or health but they're questions of broad how do we look at data to find what those problems are, how do we ask what is exactly the problem and then what are potential solutions? If solutions come from healthcare, social services, other areas, it's unclear but we have to find new approaches and that only happens when we look at these interesting data sets. Not just the data sets on how we can get you to click on an add better.