Sven Löffler
14. April 2017 0

Big Data dynamite for the Brexit?

One will always search for reasons and responsible, so as searching for reasons and responsible within the Brexit or the US elections. The search here leads to Big Data and, especially, to Big Data Analytics. The fact that analysis are used for electoral purposes in order to target voters is not a secret, but a different kind of analysis has been used in the Brexit and Trumps election campaign: profiling methods from the finest, elaborated by the Stanford professor Michal Kosinski. But can one make a single person responsible for the Brexit?

Michal Kosinski – the weapons maker

Michal Kosinski is “only” the developer of the profiling methods and he has also warned of the usage of his analysis. Digital footprints can be created by using the digital environment, such as Facebook. As a result, groups can be categorised almost independently of “normal drawers” such as demography and geography, and it can also be determined which persons tend to vote for the Brexit and which still have to be convinced. The approach of profiling by, first test, and secondly actions on the internet such as Facebook likes, was developed by Michal Kosinski and his team. For example, people who like to listen to Lady Gaga are more extroverted than others, and that men who have liked the MAC brand are often homosexual. This makes clear what powerful weapon Kosinski has created. But the ammunition was supplied by the British company named Cambridge Analytica.

Cambridge Analytica – the ammunition

Michal Kosinski has warned about the usage of the weapon and did not share his knowledge, but his staff did. They have probably sold their knowledge for 15 million dollars to Cambridge Analytica (CA), which have now presented their ideas on some lecturers. CA, a British company, does not just target segmentation by means of demography and geography, they extend it by including psychographic segmentation and personality. The category “personality” actually comes from Michal Kosinski. Decoded by the OCEAN model, also called “Big Five”. This model is applied in personality psychology and consists of the five main dimensions through which each person’s personality can be classified: openness to experience (openness), conscientiousness, extraversion, tolerability (agreeableness), and neuroticism. This makes it possible, among other things like cookies, to enable grouped or even individually tailored advertising or messages.

What is the real thing?

The fact that these methods are working was recently proved indirectly by election results, but there is no real proof on sides of CA. There is no evidence presented. The technology is definitely capable of making meticulous analyzes, providing who is receptive for which message and how he/she reacts. Thus, it is possible to make digital target services, like messages and advertising, for people how are susceptible for embassies of campaigners. But can you really put CA down as a dumbass, or in this case as the brilliant businessman, because CA is making profit out of the Brexit and Trump? For the Brexit, 20 million “convincing” voters were selected in the most important areas and were targeted bombed with psychologically defined messaged by CA.
In summary, it can be said that not everything with Big Data, curious things and desires of sneaky plans which are guilty of the Brexit and Trump’s victory, are true. The fact is, Michael Kosinski’s profiling methods are working. The fact is, there is no evidence by CA. Big Data is capable of a lot of crazy things, but to be immediately hysterical, is not a foundation for productive discussions.

What is your opinion on the profiling methods and their effects? Let us know via twitter @DeutscheTelekom. Or find out more via the following hashtags and hyperlinks: #MichalKosinski #CambridgeAnalytica #DigitalFootprint


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