personal space time data as analytic superfood

Just read a fascinating article about how cellphones, wifi, and the general tendency towards GPS everything means that there will be a huge volume of personal data about where we are and when – and what use can be made of this.

With the data out and specialized analytics emerging, this infant industry is already doing some pretty amazing work. Your space-time-travel data makes where you live and where you work self-evident, and it reveals your most frequent, periodic, infrequent and rare destinations.

The data reveals the number of co-workers that join you Thursdays after work for a beer, and roughly where you all go. It knows where these same co-workers call home, and just exactly what kind of neighborhood they come from (e.g., average income, average home price) … information certainly useful to attentive direct marketing folks.

From there it gets a bit more speculative.

I can barely get my mind around the ramifications. My concept about what comes next shifts almost daily now. A government not so keen on free speech could use such data to see a crowd converging towards a protest site and respond before the swarm takes form – detected and preempted, this protest never happens. Or worse, it could be used to understand and then undermine any political opponent.

A stalker might be questioned just days after he starts and before his victim is personally aware of it – detection previously beyond human capacity. Maybe it’s not a crime in this case, and it turns out to be just a private investigator with poor tradecraft hired by a suspicious husband.

Such a surveillance intensive future is inevitable, irreversible and as I have said before here … irresistible.

And the rest of the article takes it further. I don’t have much comment on it, other than it is interesting speculation, informative about the status of trends already happening, and worth reading as we head into spimeworld.

2 Responses to “personal space time data as analytic superfood”

  1.   Theresa
    August 18th, 2009 | 12:22 pm

    This scenario reminds me a bit of “Minority Report”: Arrest ’em before they have a chance to commit the crime.

  2.   Theresa
    August 18th, 2009 | 12:22 pm

    This scenario reminds me a bit of “Minority Report”: Arrest ’em before they have a chance to commit the crime.