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Make Data Work
21–22 May 2018: Training
22–24 May 2018: Tutorials & Conference
London, UK

Unlocking the hidden potential of bad news: Using news-derived data to uncover and solve complex societal problems

Niranjan Thomas (Dow Jones)
15:3016:00 Tuesday, 22 May 2018
Average rating: *****
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What do hurricanes, the Zika virus, and modern slavery have in common? Obviously, they’re serious global issues that cause human suffering, death, and destruction, but they’re also challenges the Strata community can seek to better understand in order to minimize their negative consequences—all with news-derived data. Niranjan Thomas explains how Dow Jones has joined forces with a diverse range of partners, including Google and a number of public health agencies, to solve these problems.

Often the missing ingredient in solving intelligent hypotheses, news-derived data and event detection can support and enhance some of the most sophisticated text mining or machine learning programs. Niranjan showcases examples of how news is helping to solve unusual problems and hopefully inspires you to take up the call and use news-derived data to make an impact.

Topics include:

  • Identifying the impact of natural disasters: Together with one of its partners, Dow Jones developed a prototype using machine learning and premium news to identify and visualize the network effect of natural disasters. The subsequent model examines nature and scope of loss events caused by hurricanes.
  • Preventing the outbreak of disease: A public health agency is leveraging Dow Jones DNA to continuously gather information about emerging health events, for example disease outbreaks, to alert international health organizations such as the WHO to potential threats. This implementation was credited with reporting the first alerts on the SARS virus in 2002 and the MERS virus in 2012. The organization is now tracking everything from the Ebola outbreak, avian flu, and the Zika virus to the spread of red tide.
  • Combating modern slavery: Dow Jones’s collaborative concept identifies direct and indirect relationships between organizations and prohibited activities such as slavery and human trafficking. Powered by news data, the initiative creates improved visibility to empower organizations to combat modern slavery.
  • ESG scores to improve investment decisions for the betterment of societies: Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) scoring provides an assessment methodology to inform investment decisions that create a sustainable future. Niranjan discusses a collaboration with Google that led to an ESG scoring prototype that leverages Dow Jones DNA and Google’s machine learning technologies.
Photo of Niranjan Thomas

Niranjan Thomas

Dow Jones

Niranjan Thomas is general manager of platform and technology partnerships within Dow Jones’s professional information business, where he is responsible for the DNA data platform, including product strategy, go-to-market, customer solutions, and driving technology ecosystem partnerships. Niranjan has over 16 years of experience in technology leadership roles across software design and development, software project management, cybersecurity, and risk and business management. He has spent significant time delivering solutions for the manufacturing, consulting, technology, telecommunications, media, and financial services industries. Previously, he was head of technology at AMP, Australia’s leading specialist wealth management and life insurance company. Niranjan holds a bachelor’s degree in business information systems from RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia.