The world knows about data mining – it’s no shy secret. Nearly everyone knows what it’s about and a lot of people hate it – but people use the services that mine their data nonetheless.
If you do not know how this works, check out this quick info graphic I made:
You use a free service (like Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.), and they collect information about you. The kind of things you search for, posts you like, etc. They basically make a collection of your interests and sell it to advertisers. The advertisers then go shopping for a perfect candidate to show their advertisement to.
And for the most part, people are fine with it. But then comes the privacy argument, and how people are loosing their privacy (more on this below), yada, yada, yada
But then they continue to use those services
But this article is not about the hypocritical ways of people. There’s plenty of time for that later.
No, this article will talk about why data mining isn’t as bad as everyone makes it to be. How it’s actually good.
Right off the bat, here’s the argument that most people make when talking for data mining:
You’d have to pay to use those same services
Data mining is what makes these companies money. That’s why more users = more profit. The fact is, if Google didn’t mine your data, they would have to charge you for using their search engine. Imagine that – every time you want to search something, instead of just whipping out your phone, typing it, and hitting enter, you’d have to make a payment. A small one probably, but a payment nonetheless. Books would be back in business!
You get personalised recommendations
My friend was looking for flight tickets to Singapore. The next day, he gets an email entailing some pretty good deals for the same (he did not sign up anywhere). He ended up booking these.
And that could apply to any scenario. You may not get an email; you may see an advert for the product you want.
Say you’ve got Facebook open while you’re browsing Amazon for new shoes. You switch over to Facebook for a moment, and see an ad for a pair of ideal sneakers. You immediately click on it and go through with the order. Time and effort saved!
And now to trump the privacy argument. There really is no loss of privacy.
When most people think of data mining, they think of someone in some cubicle somewhere, hunched over a computer, combing through all your data.
That’s not what happens. It’s really just an algorithm doing it all. Sure the companies could go and check out this data if they really wanted to, but why would they? What motive would they have to go searching through your browser history?
Taking this into the future
In the future, this algorithm could become so advanced, that it could suggest things for you to do when you’re bored, or just don’t know what to do.
And it could come up with different answers based on your past searches, likes, dislikes, etc.
It would be the number one combat to boredom! (tweet that)
Every common conception can be logically refuted
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