If you look back through the annals of recorded history, the data will tell you that mass extinction events are part of the natural evolutionary cycle. New species develop just as others are wiped out, and the world’s biodiversity depends on these periods of extinction and repopulation. It should come as no surprise, then, that the human race’s days on this planet are numbered. Of course, we’re in no hurry to join the list of departed species (provided there are any animals left with the opposable thumbs necessary to add our species to that list), and as such the world’s top researchers and scientists are striving to find solutions to the global threats that could one day wipe out the human race. These threats are very real, manifold and varied, so what’s being done to prevent them from taking their toll? Could data collection and analysis play a part in protecting humanity from the finite forces of nature?
There have been numerous times in history when virulent disease strains have devastated human populations worldwide: think of the bubonic plague, Spanish flu and smallpox, for instance. Now that the human population is so vast and people live in such close proximity to one another, it is feared that a disease pandemic could spread exponentially across the globe, decimating societies and settlements worldwide.
Researchers are in the process of capturing and analysing huge data sets pertaining to disease vectors and spread patterns should a pandemic begin to pose a real and palpable threat. A rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria has increased the importance of healthcare data research even further, as new treatments are required to halt the threat of increasingly hardy pathogens. Automated data collection is already used to monitor disease outbreaks in various locations around the world, such as China.
The last few years have shown us just how susceptible we can be to the effects of natural disasters, even in developed nations. The Japanese and Southeast Asian tsunamis of recent times caused widespread devastation, loss of life and damage to infrastructure, and we’re certain to see their like again in future.
Seismic activity is the instigating factor in a large number of natural disasters, including earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions, and previously, it’s been difficult or even impossible to predict them in advance. By examining data from previous seismic events, experts can work to develop early warning systems alerting the population to an impending natural disaster, and data is even informing our knowledge of the effects of natural disasters, allowing us to design building and roads that won’t succumb so easily to the forces of nature.
Climate change is one of the most significant threats to the human habitation of earth, and if it persists, we’re likely to encounter destructive weather conditions, rising sea levels, droughts and floods in future. We’ve already determined that the burning of fossil fuels is one of the key contributors to climate change, but reducing the world’s carbon emissions is proving slightly more problematic. However, research data is helping scientists and experts develop new green fuels and reduce the world’s reliance on oil, coal and natural gas, allowing us to power our homes and vehicles without having a detrimental effect on the environment.
With the help of accurate, informative data, researchers and forward-thinkers are working to provide solutions to the threats that hang over humanity’s continued existence on earth like the fictional sword of Damocles. Data is one of the greatest problem-solving tools available in the 21st century, and if you think your business can benefit from the influence of data this year, take a look at the range of automated data capture solutions available on our website or contact us to arrange a free, no-obligation workshop to find out more.