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5 Things You’d Never Think of Doing with Big Data

Jan 21, 2013   |   2 min read

Knowledge Center  ❯   Blog

Over fifty years ago statistician and Japanese business guru, W.E. Deming, declared “In God we trust; all others must bring data.” And bring data they have.

In 2013, already dubbed “the year of big data,” 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every day. So we’ve made oodles of data, from tweets to Amazon purchases, but what are we supposed to do with all of it? Here are 5 crazy uses for big data that are currently in action.

1. Pushing You Through College
At Arizona State University, the eAdvisor system uses student data to aid in course sign-ups, major fulfillment, and even syllabus personalization. eAdvisor looks at high school interests and previous coursework to suggest classes and majors but, if you fail a course or dump a prereq, eAdvisor will crack the whip sending you an “off-track” notification and, in some cases, require you to change majors. The program wants you to graduate so badly that it also works with test scores and backlog data to custom-tailor math courses.

2. Shooting More Hoops
Big data company, Ayasdi, presented a new theory on the basic mechanics of basketball all based upon their data visualization software. Apparently there are 13 positions in basketball, not 5, and players should be designated as ‘shooting ball handlers’ or ‘scoring rebounders’ if a coach wants to maximize points. Move over Moneyball.

3. Nagging You About Your Health
Products like Fitbit Tracker and Zeo Sleep log your meals, your footsteps, and even your sleep cycles to give you big data on a micro-level. With info on how many steps you should climb Monday to what you should order tonight for dinner, these fitness trackers even wake you up at the right time every morning. Thanks, Mom…

4. Monitoring the Popularity of Spaghetti in Uganda
The data visualization project, FoodMood, sorts through tweets for food references, searches for positive and negative words, then uses the tweet’s geo-locations to create a world map of ‘food sentiment.’ Apparently Dutch people love their pancakes but French toast totally bums Algerians out.

FoodMood presents the Netherlands


5. Monitoring Everything Else
The ‘Human Face of Big Data’ project has released a mobile app that collects data on basically everything imaginable, from food to movement to personality to beliefs. Take a picture of dessert and the app knows you had a 300-calorie red velvet cupcake. Answer some questions about yourself, your family, dating, dreams, habits, superstitions and you can see how other people match up with you. You can even find your very own brown-haired, agnostic, Skittles-loving Data Doppelganger on the other side of the earth.

Have your own awesome uses for big data? Email us at [email protected].

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