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How information changes our lives, 10 examples

Social London, project Anil Bawa-Cavia, from University College London.

The availability of a large number of completely new data types is fundamentally changing the way we live. Below are 10 examples of the use of new information, which changes everything, starting from how we evaluate the war, up to the ways of milk delivery.

Supermarkets have always watched customers make purchases, but in the past few years the number and types of information collected has increased dramatically. Tesco owns most of the shares in Dunnhumby Ltd, which is engaged in data mining and information analysis for a large number of trading companies, including: Coca-Cola, BT, Mars, Vodafone, and other leading brands. Dunnhumby uses in its work information collected using the Tesco Clubcard club cards, thanks to her Tesco can predict when people will go shopping, how they will pay for their purchases and even the amount of calories they are going to consume.
Dunnhumby recently reported a 32 percent increase in operating profit to £ 53.4 million. The number of company employees has grown from 300 when the company started in 2007, to 1,250 this year. Information collected by Dunnhumby changed the way we shop.



The dating site OkCupid.com regularly publishes articles on its blog , analyzing the data belonging to users of the site (3.5 million active users). Collecting information from profiles and messages, it is quite possible to calculate anything from the ideal avatar (it turns out that the best photos for the profile are made on the high-end camera, in the middle of the second half of the day, without a flash), right down to the language you use to messages (“your” is better than “ur”, and sexual is worse than charming). The data also suggests that users lie about their growth, adding 5 centimeters, and increase their salaries by 20 percent. The large volumes of databases that dating sites possess attract scientists , so that in the future the advice we receive on such sites will be based on a large amount of processed information.
The growth of US men, the abscissa growth

Goods delivery.

In the past few years, advanced routing tools have allowed courier companies to use a variety of data to increase their efficiency. Previously, in companies, delivery plans were planned in small groups and were drawn up on paper. Now it uses electronic maps, route data, and traffic information, which is received in real time. MapMechanics manufactures several such products , the company's customers use them to deliver a variety of goods, starting with the Yellow Pages and ending with milk. Shipping companies are now working using very complex, real-time updated systems built on data that was unavailable or their number was limited for the delivery planning manager.


The way people found stores could also change, thanks to a new approach to existing databases. Since Google introduced Street View, which was 3 years ago, competitors have created their own versions of this service. Bing Streetside was used by a team of developers to create Street Slide . Street Slide uses data from Streetside and creates a tape of businesses with logos and building numbers. This is a different, intuitive look at the shopping street and it can change how we use such services.


The LA Times published an article based on new data that changed the way how urban schools are evaluated. Until recently, parents used the average score for tests on the school to assess the quality of the school, which interested parents more than the quality of education. The LA Times used test data of 600,000 students from 2002 to 2009, thanks to which they were able to track students' progress during the course. This analysis showed that some schools improved the performance of their students, to a greater extent, compared to more prestigious schools. Although the analysis methodology is put to the question , this is an excellent example of how new, previously unused information changes the perception of well-established judgments.


The amount of government spending data laid out on the network has grown thanks to the COINS project, plus data on local administration spending above £ 500 . There are several projects that help to understand in more detail how the government spends money: Where Does My Money Go ?, OpenlyLocal and Armchair Auditor . and despite the fact that at the moment they use a relatively small amount of information, they have achieved quite a lot. Isn't that an exaggeration, WDMMG? set a very serious goal, to track where taxes are spent, up to the last penny. London Datastore and Data.gov.uk are agitating and emphasizing the importance of open information about government actions. The government itself is going to post a large amount of information to the network. With the growing amount of information about how our government works, inevitably putting pressure on it to change for the better.


The availability of information about the location of people allowed us to create a number of new geo-social networks and geo-services, such as: Foursquare, Gowalla, Google Latitude. With Facebook Places, location data can be made available to 400 million people. Graduate student Anil Bawa-Cavia from University College London's Center for Spatial Analysis created some amazing maps of London using geo-data. He recently published several maps created using information from Foursquare, thus creating a social map of London (the very first picture). Data show that Shoreditch, London Fields and Covent Garden are the most popular places for spending time. This information describes a Foursquare user better than the phrase “an ordinary Londoner”. But Facebook Places will change the existing idea of ​​everything. Bawa-Cavia believes that data from Foursquare can help us understand how the social life of a city is related to its structure and space. By analyzing geo-social databases, we can understand how to create a more social, more convenient city.


Wikileaks War Diary is the most detailed database of war that has ever been posted online. Without considering the criticism of the data ( and the motivation of those who laid it out ), the information contained in the report consists of records of civilian deaths, frequent attacks on the coalition forces of the Taliban and communications between Pakistan and the Taliban. Showing the futility of war, more convincingly than dozens of years of reporting from the war.


No story about how information changes people's lives can be told without mentioning Google. Unlike the other examples mentioned above, Google works with data whose size is measured in Petabytes, where traditional ways of organizing data do not work. Google is based on mathematical models and the constant input of additional data (which is constantly growing) in order to increase revenue and its success. As Chris Anderson wrote in Wired magazine two years ago: “Google conquers the world of advertising using only applied mathematics. He does not want to know everything about the culture and customs of the world of advertising. It merely assumes that the best information along with the best analysis tools will lead to success. And Google was right. ”

Related data and the world of the future

Examples of data types mentioned in the article are innovative, exciting, they change our lives. Most of the information we use in everyday life is “dumb” or unrelated. The next step is “related information”, or information that is able to communicate with each other. In England, Tim Berners-Lee and his team that created Data.gov.uk want to create a database of government- related data. By providing access to related information that was generated by the government, users have the opportunity to combine different types of data to create new ways of understanding how the government and the whole world work.

FluidDB startup created by Terry Jones , with the help of Tim O'Reilly , Esther Dyson and others. Tries to use information using other methods. FluidDB wants to create a “described world” where real objects have virtual copies that can be updated and that everyone can access via the network. Ie tweets and status updates containing objects, such as a brand of toothpaste or the Eiffel Tower , will contribute to the creation of a common database. The possibilities for interaction are endless.

PS All links lead to English-language sites.

Source: https://habr.com/ru/post/103042/

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