At the supermarket the other day: you buy fragrance-free body lotion and, other than usual, do without cigarettes. The cashier says: congratulations, when’s the baby coming? Big data makes it possible. Our buying behaviour reveals more than we’d sometimes like to. For those who don’t want to become transparent customers, cabaret artist Vince Ebert has a good tip: guerrilla tactics. Simply buy products from time to time that don’t go together, such as a bottle of corn schnapps, two rolls of dental floss and feminist magazine Emma. This should confuse even the most sophisticated algorithm.
While big data is not always welcome in everyday life, researchers see the opportunity for new findings in the scientific field. Properly evaluated, the flood of data could help to improve climate forecasts or diagnose diseases early on. In our cover story, we report on the challenges scientists face in turning collected big data into smart data by viewing, sorting, sharing and linking.
Read also how lifestyle affects brain ageing, what mysteries of the universe are revealed by the LOFAR radio telescope, and how “single rooms” for bacteria can improve the industrial production of pharmaceuticals.
Your effzett editorial team
Photo: Cordelia Craigie Montage: SeitenPlan