Could Predictive Analytics Have Prevented 13 Deaths?

The families of those who died in General Motors cars containing defective ignition switches want prosecutors to go after General Motors insiders responsible for letting the problem fester for more than a decade.  Some would argue that it’s a cover-up.  With advanced technology today, software that provides Predictive Analytics can help car manufacturers identify and modify production that could ultimately find defects faster, or avoid them altogether.

As an attorney and expert in Business Analytics business law, I have to question if Predictive Analytics will change the level of responsibility manufacturers have.  Other auto companies leverage technology to identify and fix defects.  One major car company utilizes vast amounts of data (Big Data) and IBM Predictive Analytics software (SPSS) to find unforeseeable relationships that lead to the discovery of defects they can fix by modifying their production process.  Here’s a quick link for reference:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dcd3KFkErM

Predictive Analytics and Big Data allow companies to identify relationships in huge amounts of data that may never have been discovered without this advanced technology. By identifying unforeseen relationships, companies can use analytics to predict maintenance needs on planes, trucks, plant equipment, etc.

But could it save lives?

While it’s unknown if GM utilizes the advanced technology of Predictive Analytics, the question remains; could this technology have prevented the loss of life?  There is a lot of research that shows Predictive Analytics can identify relationships leading to the discovery of defects in products, trend purchasing behavior, and even predict if a teenage girl is pregnant before the family knows. ( http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/19/magazine/shopping-habits.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 )

I believe only time will tell how many lives can be saved by data and analytics, but, theoretically, it could be significant.  Businesses are in the infancy of leveraging the vast amounts of data they are collecting and their analytics tools. The possibilities are endless. 

We CAN Change the World with Analytics!

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