Statistics may not seem a particularly glamorous or exciting field at first glance but they enable us to make the kind of predictions and decisions which help influence and run the entire world.
- Weather Forecast
Meteorologists all over the world gather data from a vast array of devices, including barometers, satellites, weather balloons and radars, deployed on land, sea and sky.
They measure current weather conditions such as temperature, humidity, wind speed, atmospheric pressure and rainfall, amongst others.
By formulating and applying statistical forecast models to the collected data, meteorologists are able to give us the specific local weather information we see on our smartphones that helps us plan our daily lives.
Statistics can directly help us prolong our lives.
For example, knowing women have a 1 in 8 chance of contracting breast cancer over their life, compared to a 1 in 1,000 chance for men, lets us know that breast cancer awareness should be a priority among women.
Likewise, medical services and research can be directed to areas in which it is needed the most.
Politicians often use statistics to devise strategies for campaigns and in policy making.
Many employ research companies to give them insight into voters’ hearts and minds.
The methods these companies employ vary but can include surveys, focus groups, in-depth interviews, mall intercepts and more.
Of course, at election time we are inundated with a barrage of polls, percentages and statistics as media outlets scramble to predict the outcome. Statistics play a key role in everything political, and influence who ends up being elected.
- Quality Assurance
The answer is they cannot, however using statistics they can minimise the case of faulty products through batch testing.
For example, testing a whole shipment of iPhones would be time-consuming and inefficient, so a representative sample is taken from the shipment and tested.
Using statistics, a forecast can be extrapolated from the results to predict the viability of the larger group.
- The Stock Market
Thousands of stock analysts all over the world rely on examining data and applying statistical models to try and predict market trends, bull and bear movements in global stock markets.
While there are critics who believe statistics cannot actively help you invest, other than learning about what happened to markets in the past, they still play an important role in the industry.
Statistics play a role in recognising environmental and ecological trends such as global warming and the status of endangered species.
The United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recorded 2016 as the hottest year in its 137 history of record keeping, which NASA described as, ‘continuing a long-term trend of rising global temperatures.’
Just as few months ago in June 2018, statisticians from the University of St Andrews in Scotland developed a method and software which can help assess the risk of extinction of endangered species and monitor the results of courses of action.
Their method has already been used with Baltic harbour porpoises, elephants and great apes.