Big data and the stalker economy (via Forbes)

Here are some snippets from a very interesting piece via; expressing exactly the same issue I have been looking it while researching the big data topic for my new book. Stay tuned.

Big Data and the Stalker Economy – Forbes

"Google offers free email, word processing, mapping, analytics, video, videoconferencing and much more because they’re selling us to advertisers. The byword these days is, “if you’re not paying for the service, you’re the product.” A few things to love about big data include:  

  • It’s helping solve big problems. Early detection of epidemics. Automated spell-checking. Crowdsourced astronomy. We seem to have entered the Age of Big Data.
  • It’s creating useful feedback loops. In participatory medicine, people opt in to share data so they can analyze it and continually improve their health outcomes. This kind of feedback is spreading from field to field.
  • It’s eroding the culture of expertise. Read Daniel Kahneman’s new book and you’ll stick to statistics. Add a pinch of Taleb and you’ll never speak to tie-wearing experts again.  
  • It’s nurturing a culture of collaboration. From participatory medicine to open science and open government, scientists and citizens alike are resetting the terms of innovation.
  • It’s a major new source of employment.

Data is the new oil gerd leonhard sevensheavenOk, maybe not major, but one of the few bright spots on the job horizon is the desperate need for those “data scientists.”Want a taste of what you leave in your wake? Head to I Shared What? and see what Facebook Connect-friendly sites already know about you. Then read up on passive sharing, as well as the Journal’s excellent series titled What They Know. For dessert, read a few posts from IBM’s Jeff Jonas. Then take a sedative…

There’s one last factor that tries to keep me awake at night, which is our very human tendency to believe we know more than we actually know. Thinking, Fast and Slow again does a great job of describing how we systematically overrate our capabilities…In the context of big data, overconfidence can lead people with good intentions to base big policy decisions on faulty logic. We live in an era of soft paternalism, with policy makers eager to bake into policy new default settings for society.

Mostly these are good ideas, but now and then we make big mistakes…Personal data is just the start. The Internet of Things is on its way, also known as M2M, the Many-to-Many Internet. Sensors, transmitters and power sources are getting ever smaller and cheaper, to the point that they will be ubiquitous and sending incessant data streams…

Finally, a few open questions:
Will the analysis of big data in marketing really pay off? No studies seem to prove it yet.Will customers get spooked and balk? Or fight back?Will efforts to give customers greater agency take root and take over?Will we make some really big, stupid decisions that we regret later?

(End of quote)

Compiled by
Gerd Leonhard

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