Predicting Customers’ (Unedited) Behavior – Alex “Sandy” Pentland – Harvard Business Review
Too often when we talk about Big Data, we talk about the inputs — the billions (trillions?) of breadcrumbs collected from Facebook posts, Google searches, GPS data from roving phones, inventory radio-frequency identification (RFIDS), and whatever else.
Those are merely means to an end. The end is this: Big Data provides objective information about people’s behavior. Not their beliefs or morals. Not what they would like their behavior to be. Not what they tell the world their behavior is, but rather what it really is, unedited. Scientists can tell an enormous amount about you with this data. Enormously more, actually, than the best survey research, focus group, or doctor’s interview — the highly subjective and incomplete tools we rely on today to understand behavior. With Big Data, current limitations on the interpretation of human behavior mostly go away. We can know whether you are the sort of person who will pay back loans. We can see if you’re a good leader. We can tell you if you’re likely to get diabetes.
Scientists can do all this because Big Data is beginning to expose us to two facts. One, your behavior is largely determined by your social context. And two, behavior is much more predictable than you suspect. Together, these facts mean that all I need to see is some of your behaviors, and I can infer the rest, just by comparing you to the people in your crowd.
- IT Conversations That Matter (blogs.hbr.org)
- I believe that the power … (sectorprivate.wordpress.com)
- NEWS : Mit media labs sandy pentland on the future of our big data society (xconomy.com)