Psychometrics and Big Data: A Powerful Cocktail indeed!

What happens when you mix PSYCHOMETRICS with BIG DATA? Well let's start with understanding each on it's own:

Wikepedia says "Psychometrics is a field of study concerned with the theory and technique of psychological measurement. " 

Interesting but not earth-shattering, until you add BIG DATA ANALYSIS:

"Big data is a term for data sets that are so large or complex that traditional data processing applications are inadequate to deal with them."

Well if you are a fan of marketing and human behaviour, read on. This article opens possibilities beyond our wildest imaginations and could change marketing as we know it. I know that's a bold claim, but if you love marketing strategy as I do, looking into what Psychologist Michal Kosinski of Stanford University is doing, and what others have done with his insights and published works, is both exciting and very disturbing.

The following article (Trump Knows You Better Than You Know Yourself) is from Antidote Zine was translated from Das Magazin (Zurich)


 

“I just showed that the bomb was there.”

By Hannes Grassegger and Mikael Krogerus for Das Magazin (Zurich)
3 December 2016 (original post)

Psychologist Michal Kosinski developed a method of analyzing people’s behavior down to the minutest detail by looking at their Facebook activity—did a similar tool help propel Donald Trump to victory?

On November 9th, around 8:30 in the morning, Michal Kosinski awoke in his hotel room in Zurich. The 34-year-old had traveled here to give a presentation to the Risk Center at the ETH [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule or Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich] at a conference on the dangers of Big Data and the so-called digital revolution. Kosinski gives such presentations all over the world. He is a leading expert on psychometrics, a data-driven offshoot of psychology. Turning on the television that morning in Zurich, he saw that the bomb had gone off: defying the predictions of nearly every leading statistician, Donald J. Trump had been elected president of the United States of America.

Kosinski watched Trump’s victory celebration and the remaining election returns for a long while. He suspected that his research could have had something to do with the result. Then he took a deep breath and turned off the television.

On the same day, a little-known British company headquartered in London issued a press release: “We are thrilled that our revolutionary approach to data-driven communications played such an integral part in president-elect Donald Trump’s extraordinary win,” Alexander James Ashburner Nix is quoted as saying. Nix is British, 41 years old, and CEO of Cambridge Analytica. He is always immaculately turned out in a tailored suit and designer eyeglasses, his slightly wavy blond hair combed back.

The meditative Kosinski, the well-groomed Nix, the widely grinning Trump—one made this digital upheaval possible, one carried it out, and one rode it to power.

How dangerous is Big Data?

Anyone who didn’t spend the last five years on the moon has heard the term Big Data. The emergence of Big Data has meant that everything we do, online or off-, leaves digital traces. Every purchase with a card, every Google search, every movement with a cellphone in your pocket, every “like” gets stored. Especially every “like.” For a while it wasn’t entirely clear what any of this data would be good for, other than showing us ads for blood pressure medication after we google “high blood pressure.” It also wasn’t entirely clear whether or in what ways Big Data would be a threat or a boon to humanity.

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