As a futurist, I have been watching the trend of big data for some time. In fact, it has become so commonplace that it is not technically a trend anymore. However, while the practice of big data is becoming unremarkable, a common understanding of what it really means is not. Somewhat like the idea of ‘the cloud’ ten years ago, big data is just beginning to form its definition in mainstream culture. Furthermore, the effects of this shift are becoming apparent.
The implications of big data are far-reaching and often poorly understood. This is largely due to the fact that big data is a relatively new phenomenon, and so its full potential is still being explored. Nevertheless, there are a number of ways in which big data can have a profound impact on both individuals and organizations.
One of the most significant implications of big data is its potential to revolutionize the way that businesses operate. Big data can provide organizations with valuable insights into the behavior of their customers and employees. This information can be used to improve customer service, streamline operations, and make better decisions about where to allocate resources. In some cases, big data has even been used to develop entirely new business models.
Big data can also have a profound impact on individuals. For example, big data can be used to personalize product and service recommendations, or to target advertising. It can also be used to monitor individual behavior for signs of potential fraud or other criminal activity. In the hands of governments and law enforcement agencies, big data can be used to track the movements of citizens and to identify potential security threats.
While the implications of big data are largely positive, there are also some potential risks associated with its use. One of the most significant risks is that of privacy invasion. If not properly managed, big data can be used to collect sensitive information about individuals without their consent. This information could then be used for malicious purposes, such as identity theft or targeted marketing.
Another risk associated with big data is the fact that it can be used to unfairly discriminate against certain groups of people. For example, if an organization uses big data to target its advertising based on demographics, it could inadvertently exclude certain groups of people, such as minorities or low-income individuals.
Despite the risks, the implications of big data are too significant to ignore. Big data has the potential to transform the way that businesses operate, and to empower individuals in ways that were previously unimaginable. As such, it is important for both organizations and individuals to understand the implications of big data, and to take steps to ensure that its use is properly regulated.
Today’s blog provides insights about Understanding the implications of big data. The examples below find their origin in a recent LA Time article which provides fascinating insights about how big data is changing the banking lending industry. Let’s begin with a quick overview of how we have traditionally awarded consumer credit before we look at how big data is changing things.
We all have credit scores. In fact, how much credit we are granted is based on your score. These numbers are created from a combination of several factors and include things such as how much you owe, how well you pay back what you owe and the length of your credit history. Together, these factors are used to provide creditors with an indication about how safe or how risky your loan request is.
So what happens when big data impacts the lending industry and the traditional credit request process? In short, the industry begins to innovate!
As a reminder, big data refers to using the vast amounts of information that is available as a result of living in an information age. This includes data about which websites you visit (and when), your social media profiles, and your online purchasing habits. While you knew that Amazon uses this type of information to customize your buying experience, you should also be aware that this data is now being analyzed by credit companies.
In his LA Times article, Koren pointed out big data ingredients are now being used by some lending companies to assess credit applications. Your credit application may not include reviews of things such as;
If these things surprise you, listen to the most shocking one! Facebook recently secured a patent that “would assess a borrower’s creditworthiness based on the credit scores of Facebook friends” (Koren).
So is the application of big data to credit a good thing or a bad thing?
Yes (meaning it’s both)!
At its worst, big data can be invasive and based on algorithms that don’t fully reflect the way real-life works (e.g. – A degree in Russian Language may not seem highly employable until you understand that this person works as a translator for the Russian Embassy). At its best, big data can move us beyond credit assumptions that are antiquated and inadequate. For example, Mr. Brigham was recently given a loan for a $700,000 condo by a lender who uses big data. After being turned down by many banks, Brigham was granted a loan because non-traditional assessments deemed him loan-worthy. In fact, he was even assessed with low enough risk to also waive the costly mortgage insurance (Koren).
Welcome to the era of big data banking. Whether you acknowledge it or not, big data is impacting your life. In and of itself, it is a neutral issue. However, how we use it will create our future Jekyll and Hyde’s! In fact, look for the ethics of big data to become a dominant issue in the next decade.
So how should you respond to big data? The company ZestFinance’s slogan summarizes perfectly – just remember that, “All data is credit data”.
Dr. Jeff Suderman an educator, futurist, consultant and pracademic who works in the field of organizational development. He can’t wait to ask his banker how they assessed his line of credit! He partners with clients to improve culture, leadership, teamwork, organizational alignment, strategy and organizational future-readiness. He resides in Palm Desert, California. Twitter: @jlsuderman