Big Data Changes Everything

Big Data Changes Everything

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Big data may not sound like anything special, especially considering we’ve had data for as long as we’ve been studying objective phenomenon. Sure, now we have more tools to capture this data, but can that really cause a major change in our society?

Of course. With modern tools of measurement, everything from location, movement, vibration, temperature, humidity, and chemical changes in the air are being tracked at all times. This is not to mention all of the social information being gathered through social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

It may be hard to conceptualize how this may make a difference in the way our society works, but look at it this way: How is it that any institution makes decisions on how their facilities will operate? Schools look at test scores to discover in which areas students need the most help. Businesses look at indicators of supply, demand, and customer satisfaction, among many other things, to decide which products they put out on the market and at what price.

What all of this new information gives us is a much larger pool of data, coming in from mobile devices and sensors that are integrated into the internet, which we can use to make informed decisions.

Gathering the data, however, is actually the simplest part. The key now is in being able to practically interpret that data. Through the use of analytical database management systems, however, this big data will likely become extremely useful in a huge range of fields. In everything from business, finance, educations and politics, analytical interpretations of huge amounts of data will lead to more effective decisions and consequently better results.

The advancement of artificial intelligence will likely be utilized in our efforts to translate big data into meaningful information that can be used to take action. Humans can only analyze so much data, and it takes time and money to have them do so. With an automated analytical system, an AI, all of that big data can automatically be translated into information that executive decision makers can use to take action.

Integrating the big data of the American electorate into a campaign and advocacy based organization system creates extremely powerful tools for social movements to organically find and utilize their support. These powerful new tools, based on the abilities of big data, have the potential to change the political landscape.

Not only can Big Data change politics, the powerful analytical tools that will come with it will be able to revolutionize business, economics, finance, education and so, so much more. We are only in the beginning stages of seeing huge amounts of data about the world around us integrated in a meaningful way. Analytical tools such as language recognition, pattern finding, and other AI-inspired technological feats will soon be changing the way we as individuals and organizations understand and act within the word.

These are interesting times, indeed.

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An Open Letter To My University's Library

I love your simultaneous atmosphere of academics and procrastination.
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Dear Henderson Library,

I appreciate you, I really do. You're always there on Finals week when I need constant light that I can't control in order to keep me awake. Your rows of computers and printers are always available when I need to print out a twenty-page journal article before my next class. The people at the front desk are always kind when I check out a book at midnight because I couldn't sleep. You are always there and always friendly.

But, Henderson Library, Hendy if you will, we need more plugs. Many a time I have nearly fought a Freshman over a table or chair next to a plug, and I cannot work in such hostile conditions with her glaring at me from across the room. In a time when I can't watch an episode of Stranger Things without my laptop's battery nearly dying, electrical plugs are a necessity that you cannot ignore.

You might be thinking that as a college student, I should spend my time doing scholarly activities like banging my head into textbooks in frustration, crying over term papers, and searching for jobs if I decided to spontaneously drop out. Right now. But I think we both know that college student is synonymous to Netflix procrastinator, so obviously that's not going to happen.

But for a moment of seriousness, with college students situated securely in the technology age to the degree that nearly every piece of homework I have requires me to use my laptop, easy access to electricity is just as much of a necessity as my laptop. No matter how good my battery is, it will still gasp for relief after two hours of working on a research paper with fifteen tabs on Google Chrome open, as well as my playlist on Spotify, and three different Microsoft Word documents.

I love you Hendy. I love all of your windows, your view of the lake. I love your simultaneous atmosphere of academics and procrastination. But I would honestly spend way more time among your books, desk tops, and tables if I knew that I could reliably keep my most prized possessions alive in these troubled times of my undergraduate degree.

Sincerely,

A college student that just wants to know what happens to Eleven

Cover Image Credit: PXHere

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5 Easy Ways to Protect Your Online Privacy

Quick fixes for better browsing
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We take online privacy for granted when in fact that's a major mistake. Ever wonder why a second after you've been looking at plane tickets to Costa Rica you see a pop-up window with offers following you on Facebook? That's because you're being tracked.

Advertisers know a whole lot about ourselves and sometimes, hackers do too. Here are 5 simple ways to protect your online privacy.

Get a secure VPN

Ok, what's VPN? VPN stands for "virtual private network" and is a method which adds privacy to your data across public and shared networks.

So let's say you're in college and you're hooked up to the free wifi. That's cool but all the data you send and receive (think emails, downloads) is being tracked and monitored.

If you go for a VPN service like one of the many options on Topvpnchoice, you're adding a layer of security to your online presence so you can happily continue your search of "what guys should I date based on their star sign" and "calculus 101 cheat sheet."

image via Stokpic

Use incognito browsing

When we open our browser, we don't think much of who else is looking at our search history. But have you ever noticed that literally a second after you've looked up "Ibiza tickets," you get a pop-up add following you around showing you ticket offers?

Yeah, that's because your search is being tracked. Go for an "incognito window" instead of the regular one and shop in peace.

Don't record all of your passwords

This one is a bit of a pain in the butt but it needs to be said. While it's super convenient to have the Bank of America website remember your password, it can easily backfire if someone were to hack you or get a hold of your laptop.

Instead, do the extra 3-second work of typing in your password manually and know that you're safe from some teen hacker in Arizona buying a $2,000 leather jacket on Amazon through your account.

Have different passwords

Again, might be a hassle but having different passwords is super important. Think about it, if you use the same combination everywhere, once someone finds out what that is, they can screw you over bigtime - posting on your Facebook, messing with your PayPal, liking your ex's photos on Instagram.

Don't take any chances. Create a few strong passwords and memorize them. It will be worth the pain.


image via Mateusz Dach

Tape over your laptop camera

This trick I learned from watching this freaky episode of Black Mirror. It's super easy for someone to hack your camera and look/ record you without your knowledge.

That's scary and invasive. You can easily prevent it by taping a piece of paper over the camera. It's not rocket science. You wouldn't want hackers recording you singing Justin Bieber in your underwear, would you?

There you have it - 5 easy and quick ways to be safe on the internet. Happy browsing!

Cover Image Credit: Bruce mars

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