Daily Post 1510
ELECTORAL DATA SCIENTISTS
Data science is making waves the world over. The large chunk of data scientists come from the mathematics stream. Data science transgresses into the fascinating world of machine learning and artificial technology, the the apex science which is changing the world. Technologies have come and gone but what use you put it to, is the utility it would deliver. Otherwise, we would remain as bystanders, as has been the case in the first, second and third industrial revolutions. We are on the verge of missing the fourth one. That would be suicidal, the gap thus created in development and growth can never be bridged.
How much of data science is used in governance; from planning to operations to measuring impact and finally assimilating it to decide upon new data driven benchmarks is anybody’s guess. The trajectory to be taken in different areas based on this approach is not even in the realm of imagination as of now. But when it comes to the same data science in politics, it has been getting into the realm of electoral politics since the days of India Shining. The usage of data and digital technology dates back to those days. Political War Rooms certainly have a vintage.
In the recent years, more so since 2014, there has been a marked change in the use of data science in electoral politics, which is euphemistically being called as digital marketing or social media campaigning. In the backdrop of this exercise is an intensive research work on the electorate on different parameters, which helps in creating the models. The models gives you the patterns, correlations and also has the capability to deliver predictions. The political targeting has the capability to go to the nano level, how effectively its being done remains unknown. Nonetheless, people like Prashant Kishore have made a name and a fortune out of it.
That every big political party gives immense credibility is a forgone conclusion. With the same amount of work done by the incumbent government or with the same credentials of the leader, electoral data scientists have the capability to completely change the results. It has happened any number of times. Electioneering is a strategy and this fits in hugely into it. It’s surely big business too. Globally, a company called Cambridge Analytica has done wonders with its data scientists, presumably the best in the world. With Facebook, it has been charged of manipulating elections. US Presidential Elections 2016 and Brexit Referendum being on the top of the charts. Passing judgement in an evolving field is not our cup of tea, for sure the impact would be phenomenal.
TECHNOLOGY IS A DOUBLE EDGED SWORD, YOU CAN USE IT FOR GETTING INTO POWER OR MAKING ITS BEST USE FOR HUMAN DEVELOPMENT.