BigData.SG and The human face of big data
By an amazing coincidence, I was able to attend a session of the Singapore big data meetup group, BigData.SG, after having attended the NGS Asia 2012 conference here in the Lion City. This group was started earlier this year and tries to meet once a month (a more ambitious schedule than the Stockholm group.) Today, about 40 people were in attendance, and I had a nice time chatting to some of them. The invited speaker was Michael Howard, VP of marketing at Greenplum. He had one nice quip – “big data means so little to so many” and talked a little bit about Chorus, a collaborative data science platform from Greenplum which I hadn’t heard about. He hinted that Chorus and Kaggle have something big going on together – something that will revolutionize the whole crowdsourced prediction “business.” It will be interesting to see what it is.
Earlier today, Howard had announced the Human Face of Big Data project, which has been / will be launched in several cities all over the world today (probably still hasn’t launched in the US). The project, which “lets people compare themselves to each other”, uses a downloadable app (for Android; the iOS version wasn’t working yet) that you can use to collect data about yourself with. There is “passive data collection”: how far and at what speed you’ve moved, how many Bluetooth hot spots you’ve passed, and so on, and active collection through questions that the app asks you; either “serious” questions such as whether you would modify the genes of your unborn infant if given the opportunity (and if so, what would you improve – immune system, intelligence, …) – apparently men and women answered this very differently – or more open-ended “fantasy” questions.
The app also lets you find your “data doppelganger”, which is of course the user who is most similar to you in terms of the collected data. Howard said that despite the short time since the launch, the app has already yielded interesting information about gender differences and topics of interest.