Thinking

If dinosaurs had data, would they be extinct?

The last two years have seen the world plunge into a sea of chaos on a scale never seen before.

If-dinosaurs-had-data-would-they-be-extinct-featured-image-Clarasys

The last two years have seen the world plunge into a sea of chaos on a scale never seen before. What was an isolated case in the Far East, has spread like wildfire across the world. So much so, that it’s commonplace for each of us to have been touched in some way by COVID-19. 

When you turn on your TV to the news, you are bombarded with a myriad of data and statistics which although seemingly grave, is our biggest weapon against the pandemic. The saying “information is power” has never been so apt because with it, comes great responsibility to rid the world of this thorn. 

Fight back using data


When COVID-19 hit the world in April 2020, scientists had no idea of its provenance, transmission or associated symptoms. In response, the technology community banded together to help fight back
using data and technology at its core!

The collection of masses of data worldwide from data sources such as the ZOE project were immediately leveraged. This provided crucial insights into COVID-19 identification and early diagnosis, transmission speed and spread, population mobility and required resource allocation to support policymakers and the medical community in their crisis response. 

Early warning systems have been developed to detect epidemiological patterns and predict potential infection hotspots, using AI and machine learning. 

Contact tracing applications such as NHS Test and Trace have been used to track population movement trends in real time and limit COVID transmissions using geolocation data, and in some countries such as Korea even surveillance camera footage and credit card records have been used! 

Drones have been used to provide medical supplies such as food, medication and equipment to hospitals. 

The so-called COVID-19 “infodemic” has been curbed by algorithms combing through social media platforms to remove “problematic material” to address misinformation.  

Even tweets have proved a useful data source! Sentiment analysis conducted on tweets have enabled policymakers to see how government decisions such as social distancing and travel bans have emotionally affected the population and predict its future impact should we experience a new wave. i.e. do the benefits of a full lockdown outweigh the proven adverse effects to public wellbeing….

And this is just the tip of the proverbial data iceberg!

Data capture


With the data captured in clinical trials, vaccine development and production accelerated by the use of data analytics, the breakthroughs of Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca brought to the forefront vaccination - our primary line of defence. 

I was lucky enough to be a part of the St John Ambulance team who were tasked by the NHS to provide over 20,000 volunteer vaccinators to support the vaccination efforts across England. 

Clarasys, in conjunction with St Johns Ambulance, built a live Business Intelligence (BI) dashboard to monitor the supply and spread of volunteer vaccinators across England to ensure volunteer vaccinators were being deployed at the right place at the right time. 

This provided the NHS with the knowledge of the volunteer recruitment numbers and their nationwide coverage and provided them with the right insight to inform decision making to meet the changing demand.

With the rollout of the vaccines, we are turning the tables on COVID-19. The immense progress made to fight the pandemic all stemmed originally from one piece of data, provided by one person, which held the key to unlocking the antidote. 

Some superheroes don’t wear physical capes…...they wear virtual ones!


So to the original question initially posed, if dinosaurs had
data to detect those pesky meteorites, or volcanic eruptions and adapt to their changing environment, would they be extinct? 

…...Maybe not.

To find out more about another data project we worked on with St John Ambulance, click here.  For more information on how we can help you with your data challenges, get in touch today!