Monday, August 11, 2014

On Big Data Collection and Analysis

This morning in the NY Times is an article titled  "What Cars Did For Today's World, Data May Do For Tomorrow's". It is the kind of writing I find intriguing as it brings to front an interest in the data we are collecting. This interest being our ability to collect and then analyze that data for a benefit/purpose. I believe that in today's world this is an important quest and something we need to be aware of - VERY aware of.

I think we all know (or should know) that everything we do is being recorded in someway. If you are using an old alarm clock to wake then the time you get up is still private however if you are using a more recent technically significant device then there is the possibility that your alarm is being recorded. My example is the smartphone. What you do with that smartphone could be recorded and then captured. 

How does Google Now know that when I check in that it can tell me; 1) how far I am from home, 2) how far I am from Starbucks, 3) how far I am from work, and on Saturday 4) how far I am from my RV in the woods. I not only get the weather at home, on Saturday Google Now tells me the weather where the RV is. Google Now knows that I have an RV and knows where it is. Google Now knows all my appointments and with who, knows my interests (as in searches), and it can sense when I am driving or walking. 

Look at all the apps that we use and what they know. Is this being compiled someplace? Just read "Age of Context: Sensor's, Data, and the Future of Privacy" by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel. I can believe that everything is being recorded. 

On another side this has great potential. In the article I mentioned at the top this data collection can really be a benefit for companies like GE, the Airlines industries, automobile industries. and so many more. 

Think about what you do, the company you work for, and think about the data that is being collected and how it can be used to benefit your life, your families life,  your community, your social network, and very importantly the product or service you are building? Collection of data can push you to build or do better. 

You should keep in mind there could be a negative side to this data collection. Who is watching the collectors? And I am not just talking about our Government.