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"If we start to truly exploit all of the medical data we can expect outstanding advancements"

Christina Stathopoulos understands data is having a real explosion, going from a shortage of information to the current surfeit. Conclussion: we still need to find the relevant bits.

Tuesday, 17 March, 2020

Digital Questions Christina Stathopoulos

Christina Stathopoulos is originally from the US but has been based in Madrid, Spain, since 2012. She is dedicated to the world of data, working as an Analytical Consultant at Google, Adjunct Professor of Advanced Analytics at IE Business School and a Guest Lecturer at ISDI. Alongside her corporate and academic work, she is a regular conference attendee and speaker supporting women in STEM and emerging technologies.

01 How has digital disruption affected your area and sector?

The digital disruption happening in both our personal and professional lives has caused an explosion in data. We produce so much data now that we don’t even know where to begin in extracting value from it, making fields like analytics and machine learning more important than ever. A quote from a book I recently read resonates with me on this point: “Where for most of our history we have suffered from a shortage of information, tomorrow we will struggle with a surfeit. Already today, the chief difficulty is not so much obtaining information but finding the relevant bits".

We produce so much data now that we don’t even know where to begin in extracting value from it.

02 Digital profile (professional) you admire and why.

Cassie Kozyrkov, currently the Chief Decision Scientist at Google. I admire her because she has followed a remarkable career path to make it to where she is today, a leading female figure in one of the top tech companies in the world, and is an exemplary public speaker (check out some of her talks that are published online!).

03 What is the achievement you are most proud of?

When I began teaching at the Masters level and at such a young age. I am honored that large institutions have put their trust in me to teach their student body. I enjoy sharing my knowledge with others, so it is especially rewarding to teach eager MBA students about the world of big data, trying to spark their interest in the technical world.

04 And the failure or error you have learned the most from?

Not starting to work in my industry earlier. I feel that I could have developed myself even further professionally if I had started the focus on my sector at a younger age, by doing internships or summer positions for example. I chose an ultimately odd path but regardless, I don’t regret my slightly late start; after all, my irregular career path is what got me to where I am today!

 I feel that I could have developed myself even further professionally if I had started the focus on my sector at a younger age

05 Skill or digital knowledge that you consider most valuable today.

Adaptability and eagerness to learn. The job landscape is rapidly changing across every industry thanks to the explosion of ‘digital’ and uninterrupted connectedness. The more adaptable you are, the more ready you will be for these changes. If you couple this with an eagerness to learn, open to learning new skills and technologies, then you are well-prepared for our digital world of today.

06 How do you see your sector in five years?

If we focus on my sector as being big data or advanced analytics, it will continue to rapidly grow as it has in the last years and become ever more integrated into our lives. We are generating more data than ever before, and tools to handle this data explosion are trying to keep up. I see the sector evolving with more automation overall. I expect cheaper and more efficient data tools to allow even the smallest family businesses to begin adapting these new ways and empower more companies to adopt a ‘data-driven’ business model.

07 What challenge of humanity will technology or the digital environment solve?

I can imagine the most valuable impact on humanity via technology being in medicine over the next decades. If we start to truly exploit all of the medical data we have, by collecting better data in the sector and overcoming barriers like how to correctly handle patient privacy, we can expect outstanding advancements in the field. For instance, maybe gene sequencing will become affordable for all (it’s a matter of detailed data processing), so that everyone can have their DNA mapped and then diagnoses and treatments personalized to their specific traits.

I can imagine the most valuable impact on humanity via technology being in medicine over the next decades

+1 Looking ahead to this week in which the focus is on women more than ever, if you could make a wish for the near future, what would it be?

Focusing in on the celebrations of International Women’s Day, my wish for the near future would be a higher representation of women in technical and leadership roles as well as improved equality when it comes to male peers (equal pay, flexible working hours for both genders, etc). It may sound cliché but it is true, we still have a lot of work to do on including women, and underrepresented groups in general, in these types of roles.

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