Data for Good is a recent development in the evolution of data science. Although this term has been around for less than a decade, the idea of social responsibility and using creative methods to combat social challenges have been around for much longer. At its core, Data for Good is the idea of using data responsibly in order to solve societal issues across a variety of industries for the betterment of the world.
Not limited to just one industry, Data for Good is applicable to a wide span of areas including public health, poverty, social justice, environment, etc. A recent initiative within this space is the smart city movement. Even though not all cities have the ability or access to the necessary data, the overall concept is embodied by the usage of data to improve public services. The partnership between New York City, Columbia University, and Data Science Institute to reduce floatable trash highlights the positive impact made by using data for social good. Data for Good has also been recognized by other institutions of higher-learning: the University of Chicago offers a Data Science for Social Good Summer Fellowship to encourage and train data scientists to use their skills to take on projects with social impact in areas such as transportation, economic development, and international development.
The ongoing rise in cognitive issues has sparked a philosophy that technology can be used to slow down this acceleration. Already visible within the healthcare realm, new developments in data science and AI for personalized medicine, senior care, addiction recovery, and cognitive care for dementia support the idea that the negative effects of human cognitive processes can be reversed to better our mental health and general wellbeing. Instead of submitting to the notion that technology will lead to everyone’s demise, AI carries the hope that technology could potentially boost Human Intelligence.
Data for Good is gaining momentum outside the educational and healthcare realms. Numerous Data for Good platforms have emerged in the last five years or so, thanks to the rapid acceleration of big data. A prime example is Bloomberg’s Data for Good Exchange, an annual forum that focuses on the intersection between data science and social good and where this combination could lead. Their theme for the 2017 conference, “With Great Data comes Great Responsibility”, reflects the general concept. A new consensus of universities, businesses, and political leaders who are actively supporting this idea broadens the possibilities beyond data scientists and AI innovators.
 Fuchs, Ester R. “Smart Cities, Stupid Cities, and How Data Can Be Used to Solve Urban Policy Problems.” Tech At Bloomberg, Bloomberg Finance L.P. , Web. 28 Aug. 2017.
 Gazzaley, Adam. “The Cognition Crisis – Future Human – Medium.” Medium, 9 July. 2018.