On Big Data and Human Interactions

Just now I read a very interesting and insightful article about Big Data and what insights it provides to human behavior and the social interactions. MIT professor Sandy Petland is a (Big) Data scientist, a social observer and also a regular invited speaker at the Davos World Economy Forum. Some sentences that stuck to my mind: “I believe that the power of Big Data is that it is information about people’s behavior instead of information about their beliefs.”

“This sort of Big Data comes from things like location data off of your cell phone or credit card, it’s the little data breadcrumbs that you leave behind you as you move around in the world.”

“What those breadcrumbs tell is the story of your life.  It tells what you’ve chosen to do.  That’s very different than what you put on Facebook.  What you put on Facebook is what you would like to tell people, …”

How very true. What I put on Facebook and what I talk there is about I want the others to perceive me. But who I actually am is only revealed about my behavior.  What I eat, what I wear, what I buy, where do I go for holidays and whom I engage with.  There are many ‘words of wisdom’ relating to this:  tell me who is your friend I will tell you who you are,  don’t judge people according to their words but their actions, etc…

Here is the whole interview with Prof. Petland and the video:


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