Not so deep within the internet PBS has a film called Big Data. We watched this film in class the other day. I was amazed at how much our activity is recorded and used by companies. The film focused on how everything we do is traceable and how companies use it to their advantage to try to get us to buy their products. One of the stories that was shared in this film was from a target manager. He was telling of a time when a man came into the store and was upset that target was sending his daughter mass quantities of adds involving newborn child material such as strollers and clothing. The manager apologized and explained that he had nothing to do with this incident. The manager called back a few days later to make sure the man wasn’t still upset. The man apologized for the way he acted and said that his daughter was in fact pregnant and he was unaware.
The fact that people from Target could tell from the daughters purchasing habits changing that she was pregnant. Some of the tendencies that they looked for were the switch from scented lotion to unscented, and other changes of that nature that wouldn’t do harm to the baby. Another company that was mentioned could tell when you were going to be depressed two days before you would become depressed. They could do this based on you daily routine habits. This blows my mind.
The one thing that they mentioned that I feel could be the most helpful from data gathering was the prediction of a flu outbreak based on google searches. It takes the CDC about a week to two weeks to say when there is a flu outbreak. Gathering the google searches on key words or phrases in certain areas made google able to predict it in two days. The only flaw with this was that they had an instance when their data was influenced by talk of the flu on the news and people googled the same phrases even if they weren’t sick. I feel like this could be perfected or something similar would be amazingly helpful in the future.
I will be more careful when putting things on the internet from Facebook to google searches. I had no idea that google searches were kept and stored. I thought it was a one sided thing. In conclusion there is a whole side of data that we never knew existed. Watching this video really opened my eyes on what all was traceable that I do from internet searches to debit card swipes, everything is tracked and recorded somewhere. You guys should check out this video and see just how much of what you do is traceable and to what use it’s being used for.