This Economist article on the potential use of mobile phone tracking data in the West African Ebola outbreak us quite interesting. I’m not nearly expert enough to make any meaningful commentary on how useful or otherwise such data would be, but it seems unhelpful for networks to block data sharing.
But – and here’s the rub – there’s a really distracting logical flaw in the middle of the article. The Leader claims that tracking based on incomplete mobile phone data is “better than simulations based on unreliable statistics”. Yet the Leader also describes the mobile phone data as incomplete and imperfect, which means it, too, will be a simulation based on unreliable statistics. And, besides, if they’re bemoaning the lack of availability of the data in the first place, how do they have the foggiest clue as to whether it will be better or worse?
I expect better from Economist Leaders!