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Big Data has allowed for real time data analysis that has opened the doors to many predictions and observations of behavior that were previously not possible on a small-data scale. Maya Schonberger states that big data provides “the ability of society to harness information in novel ways to produce useful insights or goods and services of significant value” (2). However, I also find it interesting that big data is also used in order to back up observations that may have been concluded without it. As Professor Chun had pointed out in class about the Target example, perhaps if there had been a woman involved in the analysis process, the correlations between pregnant woman and their shopping habits could have been found just as easily.

The readings reminded of something a friend showed me a few years ago: Google Ad Preferences. When I first learned about it and clicked on it from my own computer, I was shocked. What was presented to me was a description of who Google thought I was, thereby allowing them to tailor ads to my preferences. Google had been able to predict my gender, age, the languages I speak, and pinpointed some of my interests. I was already aware that my searches were collected, however, I hadn’t seen the results. Whether this information truly reveals more about myself to Google or rather puts me into a category of 19-23 year old females with similar broad interests is the question. I just went back to my Google Ad Preferences and was surprised to see my updated google-self. The age range had widened and so many categories had been included in my interests, that I would not be able to distinguish my profile amongst thousands of other profiles.