The astounding rise of data science as a truly life-changing force in our modern world now includes the assertion by Snowflake CEO Frank Slootman that a pharmaceuticals customer says data science has a bigger impact than life sciences in improving Human Health.
While Slootman’s comment during Snowflake’s FY22 Q2 earnings call revealed something about Snowflake, it also revealed a very great deal about the enormous impacts that the cloud and and AI and advanced analytics and digital technology are having on—very literally—human life and human lives.
Here’s the portion of Slootman’s reply that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up:
I had a conversation with a chief science officer of a big pharma company who said they view the biggest impact in the world of life sciences in terms of people’s longevity and quality of life. And he said that will come from data science and will not come from life science, which are really enormous statements to come out of a life-sciences company because it shows that they think the enrichment of data is going to create incredible insights in terms of the effectiveness of treatments and therapies and protocols that are going to have an enormous effect.
That’s worth thinking about: the chief science officer at a major pharmaceuticals company, built on and driven by life sciences, now believes that those pioneering and indispensable life sciences will take a back seat to the new whiz kid of data science.
It’s a great story, and it’s one of the reasons why Slootman has to be considered among the top executives in the entire tech industry and perhaps even the larger business world as well.
But I thought Slootman missed a big opportunity in his followup comment when he said this:
And that’s why you see data becoming extremely important to all these different verticals because of the impact it’s going to have on what these people do for a living, you know.
Hey, that’s true for sure. But I would think Slootman might have commented on not only what “these people do for a living” but also the astonishing revelation that the pharmaceutical industry—built 100% on life sciences—is now driven in more vital and strategic and important ways by data science.
Not to mention that when it comes to human health, it is now data more than biology or biochemistry or neurobiology that can drive the most-significant outcomes.
But that quibble aside, great job by Slootman for surfacing this remarkable new reality, which demonstrates the power and the potential of the incredible companies reshaping the world in the Cloud Wars.
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