How Big Data is Changing Our World

It’s not unique to the financial services industry.

November 4, 2013
Big data is affecting almost everything. It’s not unique to the financial services industry.
Every industry from health care to professional sports is getting a facelift, thanks to the careful parsing of ever-growing mountains of data.
When you talk about big data analytics in baseball, it’s referred to as Moneyball—a term that stems from Michael Lewis’ 2003 book “Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game.” 
The book chronicles how the Oakland Athletics managed to turn around their financially disadvantaged Major League Baseball franchise into a winner using improved statistical analysis. 
Baseball has since embraced big data analytics. Many baseball clubs use it to evaluate the maximum return on investment in players. 
Political polling 
Big data skills have turned nerds into celebrities. Take Nate Silver for example. 
After analyzing sports statistics, Silver turned his attention to political polling during the 2008 presidential election. He successfully predicted the results in 49 of 50 states on his FiveThirtyEight blog, as well as all U.S. Senate races that year. 
He’s been a hot commodity ever since. He has worked for The New York Times and more recently ESPN. 
Flu trends 
Google discovered that certain search terms are good indicators of flu activity. With Google Flu Trends, users can track estimated flu activity across the globe. 
And public health officials are looking at ways to track public health threats through the aggregation of similar big data sources. 
Crime fighting 
Several big city police departments are testing new predictive technologies to anticipate and prevent crime. 
Using computer algorithms and a wide variety of data sources, these tools attempt to predict potential hot spots of crime activities before they happen. That allows police to patrol certain areas where crime is projected to occur. 
Target marketing 
The retail chain Target uses big data to market to new parents— retailers’ ‘holy grail’—before their babies are born. 
The joke going around the Internet is that Target knows you’re pregnant before you do, based on your buying habits. 
By comparing historical trends, gleaned from years of collected data, Target has become a leader in predictive analytics.