Data science is an extraordinarily helpful tool to monitor company operations and trends in demand to make important business decisions, but can it be used to measure happiness? According to this post from Forbes, the people of the Kingdom of Bhutan think so. By hosting an upcoming workshop with data scientists, Buddhist leaders and others in power in various fields of importance, the government of Bhutan hopes be able to measure what they call Gross National Happiness, or GNH. They will be measuring GNH based on 9 specific elements: overall psychological wellbeing, use of personal time, community vitality, cultural diversity, ecological resilience, general health standards, quality of education, and governmental decisions. By using data science to help define and measure these factors, Bhutan hopes to create new technology to help monitor happiness on a national level via an online system, rather than their current survey system, much like our country’s census reports. Being able to measure happiness on such a large scale with data to back it up could be an important step to improving various aspects of life in countries with less than average happiness "scores."
Our friend Prof. Galit Shmueli, lead author of the “XLMiner book” Data Mining for Business Intelligence has played a key role in the Kingdom of Bhutan’s data science efforts, as co-director of the Rigsum Research Lab from 2008 to 2014. For more on how data science could lead to greater happiness, keep reading.