Recently an interesting story was published that brought to my attention the development of a method of predicting which topics will trend on twitter. The method, or algorithm, was developed at MIT and will be presented at the Interdisciplinary Workshop on Information and Decision in Social Networks.
Being able to predict what will trend on twitter is useful for a variety of reasons. However, when we move away from social media, prediction will really have an impact on everyday life.
We live in the era of “Big Data” and interpreting this data, through the use of sophisticated quantitative models, will become more commonplace.Essentially, everyone will have a tool similar to Google Analytics for personal data. We’re mostly there today. For example, products such as FitBit or Nike+ monitor one’s vital signs and store that information for further analysis. Extending these products with a predictive component will lead to new preventative health care applications.
With all of these new tools, though, we cannot overlook the privacy question. The most cynical of voices will question whether privacy is relevant for users? Social media sites have trained people to share everything. Cloud based services are having a similar effect on documents. Will the addition of personal data have any impact on these trends?