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China Daily / 2020-06 / 30 / Page009

Big data makes life easier but also poses risks

By Sun Yunchuan and Zhang Junsheng | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2020-06-30 00:00

Big data and artificial intelligence technologies have brought about profound changes in the way people live and work. For example, the health QR codes in green, yellow and red-based on a mobile phone user's physical movements which determine whether he or she poses a contagion risk-are the result of big data.

After a new cluster of coronavirus infections was detected in Xinfadi wholesale market in Beijing on June 11, big data helped the authorities trace people's digital footprints and electronic payments and identify those who had visited Xinfadi during the previous days. Subsequently, such people were informed through messages to undergo nucleic acid test before venturing into public places.

Since Xinfadi is the largest wholesale market for fruits, vegetables, meat and seafood in Beijing, thousands of people visit it every day. It would be nearly impossible to identify all those who visited the market in a day, let alone in a week or more, without using big data. Big data offered critical and real-time information on the visitors and thus helped the government take effective measures to contain the new outbreak.

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