How is Big Data shaping your future?

The modern world is driven by Big Data and data is the most valuable commodity in the tech industry. Data informs business decisions and improves our daily lives, so it is gold dust to the tech giants, who give away their products and services for free. The only cost is the non-financial one of allowing those companies to collect your data. And they need it, so that they can sell targeted marketing to advertisers. It is a symbiosis, brought about by evolution and it is inescapable.

In any given day, we are all giving away our personal data, willingly, freely and contractually. Whenever we sign up to a service online, we agree to the terms and conditions of that site being free to use. And those terms and conditions include the user giving permission for their data to be collected.

In a typical day, we may enjoy some free time catching up with friends or posting holiday snaps on Facebook or Instagram. We’ll inevitably have to look something up on Google (other search engines are available): Train times, the weather, booking tickets, grocery shopping. Then with each of those secondary activities, we’ll be using a useful service which makes our lives easier. The service is free and it is collecting our data. Combined data (Big Data) from lots of different users, allows the online platforms to target advertising very specifically. Advertisers want a direct path of least resistance to their market and they will pay good money for effective advertising.

As targets for these adverts, we have a choice as a consumer. But targeted ads are just that, and we find that we do need or want these products and services. People have a phobia about sharing their data but it’s unavoidable and should therefore be embraced for all of the positive things it represents.

As computing power has increased and technology costs reduced, ever more powerful computers are able to run complex algorithms, to predict and react to users (us). An individual’s data, on their shopping and leisure habits, can be used not just to sell to them but to help in other ways. Data on what we eat can be used to predict and treat any medical issues, is just one example. Already, how we drive can be monitored and safe drivers rewarded with lower insurance premiums. It’s all Big Data, collected, collated and used by algorithms for a lot which is good.

The Internet of Things (IoT) will continue to drive the Big Data revolution, with every device in our lives hooked up to the internet. Medical implants can send data to carers for someone with an illness, their condition monitored and treated effectively through analysis of their data: An example of Big Data being used for something more altruistic than simply sales and marketing.

As computing power continues to increase and data grows bigger, Voice Recognition and Artificial Intelligence will soon advance to a point where computers are better able to deal with the daily enquiries which humans make, in a more humanistic way.

And Big Data will continue to be the most valuable commodity in modern life, as it continues to improve the lives of modern day people.

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