Big Data, Big Demand

Can Google know if you’re sick before your doctor does? A paper published in June in the Journal of Oncology asked just that — and surprisingly, the answer was yes.The researchers looked at the search queries of people with a recent diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. Months before their diagnoses, some of them were running search queries about early symptoms like yellowing skin and abdominal pain. Those queries, the researchers concluded, could be used to spot and provide early treatment in 5-15 percent of pancreatic cancer cases. Early treatment can double five-year survival rates. Of course, the search engine itself reveals nothing — it’s the data expert running the numbers who teases out correlations like that. Demand for the services of data scientists who develop complex analytic tools, and for the data…


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