Forbes post “5 Cool Ways Big Data Is Changing Lives”

A colleague sent me a link to a Forbes post “5 Cool Ways Big Data Is Changing Lives”, and I have to object to one of the entries in the post:  ” When Big Data Goes Bad”

The example referred to is from when Forbes writer Kashmir Hill reported on how Target figured out a teen girl was pregnant before her father did.

Here is my issue with Raj Sabhlok‘s inclusion of this as one of “5 Cool Ways Big Data Is Changing Lives”:

1)      It clearly is not a ‘cool way big data is changing lives’..  PERHAPS I could concede that it is changing lives, but, as implemented, I would not agree it is ‘cool’.  (I guess I might concede that the predictive power is cool to data analysis folks)

2)      And labeling the Target scenario as a case where Big Data [Went] Bad misleads the reader.  It has nothing to do with the data itself but has to do with the business, policies, and implementation details of how the results might be used.  And those types foibles have been around since the dawn of marketing, not as some new phenomenon that Big Data has caused.

Don’t blame the data, or even the techniques for analyzing the data, for things you bring upon yourself based on improper or poor usage / policies.


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Filed under Analytics, Big Data

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