What are the biggest data science success stories so far? It might be interesting to make a distinction between two cases: 1. When data analysis is applied to enhance business 2. When data analysis is the business

I think the Great Firewall of China, gigantic censorship system of the Chinese government is a good example of what can be achieved with data science. It monitors millions of tweets, posts, links, pages, automatically block requests containing certain keywords, etc. Plus it does that at the scale of the whole Chinese Internet which is hundreds of millions of users and billions of strings of texts to process each minute.

The system is also distributed into services of (private) companies which have to follow and implement restrictions announced by the government, i.e. create advanced internal data mining system to monitor and delete “sensitive “ user content.

Sina, company who creates Weibo (the Chinese equivalent of Twitter) has to monitor every tweet and detect “illicit “ content, block “suspect “ users, etc. The system can not cope with all things but let ‘s say it does well the (dirty) job it is supposed to do.

On a business point of view, it may not be that powerful at a first glance as it is just blocking and doesn ‘t have direct outcomes. Yet it empowers Chinese politics to keep their current business ongoing and have extensive control on public discussions …

Data enthusiasts (as myself) may find it very depressing but the Great Firewall seems to be the biggest data real-time analysis piece of engineering actually in service on earth.

Once again, greatest technological success can easily become the biggest threats for our human life …

This text was originally published in quora.

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